Jr. High Fall Retreat

By Maddie

A couple weekends ago, I had the privilege of going on the annual Jr. High Fall Retreat at Streamside Camp in Stroudsburg, PA. This year’s trip was unique for me for a couple reasons. For one, this was my first year as an eighth-grader and it was fun to be on the leadership team and to help with the planning. This was also the first time our new coordinator and his wife, Josh and Ciera Dempsey, were joining us. The weekend was a great way to get to know them and for them to get to know us.

As expected, there was never a dull moment! We carried on some youth group traditions, such as eating warm doughnuts, playing the games mafia and manhunt, canoeing (and swimming for some), archery, nine square, and, of course, the Mole Run, which is always one of the highlights of the trip. (The Mole Run is basically a long, bumpy, black construction tube that stretches down a very long hill. We usually wait until dark, and then slide down on sleds.)  We also learned some new games that Josh showed us: Ultimate Frisbee and a trust exercise. Our guest speaker, Dave Lesshafft, did a great job teaching us how to love God and others better (Matthew 22:37-39). He specifically talked about how to do this using your heart, soul, and mind. We finished off the weekend roasting S’mores and singing songs around a bonfire.

I always look forward to this retreat because of the many friendships that are created.  This year, with a lot of new students in the junior high, I was excited to get to know the newcomers. It was encouraging to see people interacting with others they had never even talked to previously. We all came away with a new friend or two.

Overall, the weekend was an amazing time to learn, connect and have fun. I am very thankful for the opportunity to go, and I hope the relationships and things we learned will continue to grow as the year goes on.