Youth Winter Retreat 2024
This school year, rain and storms have interrupted a number of youth events. So, when the pre-retreat lock-in had to be canceled due to thunderstorms, there were fears that the entire weekend would be ruined. However, that was far from the truth. Our retreat was an amazing time of building community, building up one another, and building relationships. (Oh, and building Legos). We started with an assessment of how we affirm disabled identities at our own church while sharing breakfast together. Youth learned and discussed ways to build a welcoming and inclusive space through accessibility.
After rich discussion, we loaded the bus, and drove all the way to Myrtle Beach, SC without a single stop. That definitely built up some resilience. Once we arrived, it didn't take long for our group to find the volleyball court and get competitive. Afterwards, we enjoyed dinner together at a local restaurant, continuing our discussion of identity. Our youth showed off their skills in Kahoot and proved they knew a number of terms about different identities. After a late movie night and much deserved sleep, the next day began with a delicious group breakfast. We concluded with some quiet meditation time, enjoying the sunrise and the sounds of the ocean together. We also made sure to tune in to the 10:00 am morning worship at MPBC. Youth commented that the rendition of "Glory" from our choir was very different than anything they had heard in the service before, and appreciated how moving it was. The rest of our day we completed crafts together, intentionally thinking of who and what we want to be in the future. After lunch at a local Mexican restaurant, we spent time on the beach, collecting shells, braving the waters, and then thawing out in the hot tubs.
Our final night was filled with skits about the Good Samaritan, Mario Kart, snacks, and other ways to build community together. While departing Monday morning was sad, it was a reminder to be intentional with the time we have been afforded together. Every youth in attendance was thoughtful, engaged, and grateful for the opportunity. Until we meet again for Winter Retreat 2025. . . .