Last Friday, 13 Senior High students and 4 adults went to Suttle Lake for an overnight retreat. We left the parking lot about 4:20 on Friday (we never leave on time…but such is life) making our way in a 12-passenger van, a mini-van, and a convertible Pontiac Sunfire. The drive was relatively uneventful, besides stopping in Sisters to pick up Adam.
We arrived at Suttle Lake United Methodist Camp about 5:15, just enough time to get our things in Pioneer Lodge and get ready for dinner. Jane (the camp director) welcomed us and then we chowed down on some great food. After dinner we hung out for a little while (played foosball, ping pong, the piano, etc.) then we met in one of the small outdoor chapels and started our evening activity.
Our evening activity was a worship service in the form of a silent hike through the woods of central Oregon as the sun went down. With nothing but our thoughts and words from scripture we set out along the ridge stopping three times to read from the Hebrew Bible. We specifically focused on three scripture passages dealing with covenant (Genesis 9:8-17, Genesis 17:1-8, and Jeremiah 31:31-34). Our hike ended where it began in the outdoor chapel. There was time for reflection and I felt God at work through our time together. We closed worship with a prayer and headed to the volleyball court. Where…there was lots of laughter, fun, and just enjoying being together.
After the sun went down (and we started a fire in the surprisingly cold lodge) we came together to talk about what we as a group wanted to be about. Everyone was given some time to reflect on their own, we then broke into small groups, and finally met together as a large group. From the discernment of the group we developed two separate sections of a overall mission. What kind of environment we would like to create and What we do to create that environment…(stay tuned for the info in a later post).
We ended the night with some good ole game of Apples to Apples.
The next morning we woke up to a wonderful breakfast of pancakes and ham. (Yum, Yum, thanks Wendy) After breakfast we cleaned up the lodge and loaded our stuff in the vans. (We had to get out because a group from Portland State University was coming in at lunch) After loading the vans we met Mike by the swings for the challenge course.
We started with simple games and moved on to more complex low ropes elements all the while doing our best to listen to one another and work together. All in all we completed three elements (well maybe five…the wall had three different heights 8′, 10′, and 12′). It was an awesome time of working together and knowing when to be quiet. I also enjoyed some of the quieter members of our group taking the lead and offering some sage advice.
After the challenge course it was off to lunch. PIZZA! (IT WAS AWESOME!!) Then we loaded up in the vans and came home. We got back to the church around 2, with the youth still filled with energy and the desire to be around one another.
It was a great overnight trip and one we will have to do again sometime. I would like to thank Carrie and Eric for helping us out at the last minute, and my wife Heidi for taking her days off to be with us. Finally, I would like to thank all of the youth that were able to go on the trip. It was their energy, enthusiasm, and faithfulness that make being the Youth and Family Director at First Presbyterian Church–Bend, OR a treat.
As promised…some pictures