Sr. High Retreat – Ocean City, NJ

By Justin

I have lived in PA for the last year as a foster child, and since being here, I have had a lot of firsts in my life. This was my first trip with the New Life Dresher youth group and to Ocean City. I have had a lot of struggles in my life and have been blessed to do things I never dreamed I would be able to do. Going to Ocean City was one of them.

I will never forget when Todd and I were going out on a rock ledge. This rock ledge was like the walk of life. At some points it just dropped off, and at others it was a little rough to walk over and you could slip very easily. It reminded me not to give up when things are rough in my life.

The next morning our first session is going to be my most memorable. It started with youth-led worship with just a keyboard and two talented singers. Sometimes that’s all you need. After that we started our lesson, which was the crucifixion, which most of us had heard many times before. However, this time was different. This time we went in depth to every person involved and where they were coming from, as well as how it affected others around them. The question that presented itself to me, what did I think of Pilate? Where did he stand with God? That question resonated with me all weekend.

Saturday evening was another memorable night. Again, we had youth-led worship, and then we talked about the other people involved in the crucifixion: Mary, the disciples, the soldiers. We talked about their involvement with Jesus, and how they were affected by the loss of Jesus Christ. Sunday morning, we had what I call the conclusion session, which tied everything together. The whole setting of the crucifixion was a brutal scene to say the least. It made it feel more real to me. God gave his only son to die for us and not just die, but to be beaten and treated like no other human before.

I am very thankful for the experience. I had fun with my leaders and peers. I got to see and experience Ocean City for the first time in my life, and I really enjoyed the small-group interaction.

I would recommend every youth to go on these retreats if possible.