The Adventures of the High School Spring Deeper Retreat
Back in March, the high school department had the privilege of taking a group of about 35 students down to Gig Harbor for the spring Deeper Retreat. Early that Friday afternoon, four student leaders and two staff members drove down to the lodge and prepared the space.
Lights were hung, goodies bags were made, and snacks were purchased, all to ensure the space was ready for the students’ arrival.
We stayed at a homey lodge that was tucked away in the middle of lush forest, perched upon a pond. Students had the opportunity to cook meals for one another in teams, as well as clean up together. New relationships were formed and all of the students were enjoying one another’s company in the comfort of what felt like home. It truly seemed like there was a theme of togetherness at the retreat.
Throughout the weekend students had the chance to battle one another in catchphrase and card games, destroy the leaders in a few rounds of dodgeball, and eat some world famous homemade chocolate chip cookies. On Saturday afternoon, some of the kids went on an excursion out into Gig Harbor to walk along the water and experience the beauty of a Gig Harbor beach. While these activities built community and produced much laughter, the weekend was filled with something that goes beyond dodgeball defeat, and that was Pastor Annie Duncan sharing about “Hearing God’s Voice” at four different occasions throughout the weekend.
The topic of “Hearing God’s Voice” can definitely be intimidating, but Annie articulated it in language that was so relatable and universal that everyone walked away with a greater idea of what that meant. Annie did something pivotal: she got a conversation started; students were engaged and asking questions, longing to hear more.
Saturday night was filled with endless skittles and games, but while all this was happening, we also had an extended prayer time devoted to students and leaders praying with one another. Under the twinkling lights in a loft of the house, small groups of students and leaders huddled together to hear prayers. It was great to watch students talk about their hopes, prayers, and praises and then come alongside leaders and pray together.
As Sunday morning dawned and the retreat was about to wrap up, there was one final activity that involved students writing letters to themselves, which they will receive within the next year.
This gave the students a time to reflect and write down what they had heard throughout the weekend and with the hope that, when they receive the letters again in the mail, they will serve as a wonderful reminder of their experiences over the retreat.
The Deeper Retreat provided and opportunity for students and leaders to go deeper in faith together and spend time in community with one another.
The Deeper Retreat provided an opportunity for students and leaders to go deeper in faith together and spend time in community with one another. When asked her favorite thing about the retreat, one student stated, “Being able to come together in fellowship and learn about hearing God’s voice on a deeper level in an atmosphere where there are no distractions and I can fully be attentive to what the Lord wants for me to hear.” That comment sums up the weekend perfectly. Not only was it a fun weekend, filled with authentic relationships and a sense of togetherness, but even more, we left rejuvenated and reminded of God’s presence.
The High School Department looks forward to its next camp, Extreme Week, a one-week river rafting adventure in Northern California, June 25-30.