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it was a long weekend, so it’s a long post… October 23, 2009

Filed under: adventures — ravennagirls @ 12:28 pm
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Fall.

Its the perfect mix of sleepy and crispy, beautiful and foggy, relaxing and busy. 

Kind of like my weekend.

b-fall retreat 006 editLast weekend, I (d) had the honor of going on a little trip.    Where and with whom?  A little backstory…  Since June, I have been a volunteer youth leader for junior high students at a local church.  I have had so much fun!  {actually, yes}  In my small group are  8 girls that are in the 7th grade this year.   So, when a fall retreat was planned for the 7th and 8th graders I was asked to come along and lead. 

Now, at first, the thought of {50} 12-14 year olds and I (along with some other leaders of course!) going on vacation seemed a little lot scary to me.  Do I like kids, especially these girls?  Yep.  But a whole weekend? 

Yeah, I thought I was nuts too.  I mean, I remember what it was like to be a 13 year old girl.  And sleeping in bunk beds with 8 of your closest friends?  Sounds like a party!

Yet, after thinking about it, being so nicely hounded by my girls {PUH-lease, we can have pillow fights in our room!}, and learning that my co-small group leader could also attend… I signed up.

I’m not going to lie, I was nervous.  And then, after we all left the church on Friday in our vans headed north… I thought– there is no turning back now!  Let the fun begin!  {I will admit, I thought about turning back when I heard one of the girls in the back of the van I’m driving exclaim “are we there yet??” after we had driven 10 miles on the freeway. I seriously thought about reversing.}

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The destination was a lodge up in the Mt Baker National Forest, a good 2.5 hr drive north.  It was the perfect set up for this type of weekend.    … First floor covered in tabletop games.. .. Second floor with a huge dining area and a room full of couches with a fireplace and windows looking out to the mountain….Third floor was girly rooms…and the fourth was boys only.

We got there on Friday night very excited.  {Might have had something to do with the fact that I secretly stopped for Dairy Queen with my van-full and won enormous praise after that.  eh, so I bribed some 13yos with ice cream. }  None of the kids were tired, {this was typical all weekend actually} but I was ready for bed at 9 pm.  ha.  There was coffee though, and we all sat around the fire chatting for a bit about what the plan was for the weekend and having some worship time. 

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The next day, Saturday, really truly was perfect.

Thinking back, I’m not sure how we even had enough time for it all… It seems like I could write 10 blog posts!

After breakfast, I started teaching some of the girls to play Ticket To Ride, one of my favorite board games.   At the close of the two hour game, one of the girls bursts that this is her favorite board game of all time.  My heart skips a beat; I am so proud!   Seriously, how’d I get the cool girls?

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We had some worship time and a little group talk about prayer where the kids were asked to do a little exercise associated with the talk.  We all went back to our rooms to discuss it in small groups.   While the girls are typically great talkers on Sundays, I must admit we rarely stay on any sort of topic.  I often leave wondering how much they really understood or what was not said.  But today seemed different.  Most of them had something really great to share.  They were excited to share with the group what they have been praying for and really thinking about what God has been saying to them. My kudos went out to the girls that were not sure what God was saying.  Gosh, they were so brave, I thought, asking for such clarity and help.  They wanted to know about me, my experiences and I opened up to them.  I think it’s important sometimes to know that simply because I am an adult (?), it does not mean I don’t struggle with things or sometimes doubt. 

A lot of doubt runs through my mind each day, a lot of guilt, sadness sometimes, worry.  Sometimes I have trouble praying and struggle with my faith too.  And I explained that to them, honestly.   To me, faith is not just about saying you believe and that’s it.  It is a constant work in progress.    And sometimes it is hard. 

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I think a lot of the girls took something out of what I said to them.  It has different meaning for each of them and each one of them has a diferent situation in life.  I truly am honored that many have even opened up to me and their peers about themselves/things going on with them.

In fact, after this little group time, two of the girls said, hey can we talk, just the three of us?  They wanted to talk to me about their “stuff” and their friendship and just it all.  They totally trust me, which is pretty great, I have to say.  I had so much to say after I listened to them.  I felt like–hey, this type of stuff is why I am here right now.   Board games are pretty great.  But — having a kid tell you all this stuff and you feel like you helped a smidge is pretty darn awesome.

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Also awesome was a little afternoon hike in the rain that some of us took.  It was pretty crazy raining out there, and most of the kids wanted to stay inside, near the warm fire.  But, one of my girls wanted to go, and so did I, and there it was, a perfect time for us to connect.  Plus, it was so gorgeous around us, even in the rain, that I wanted to get out and walk a bit.  So off the group goes, into the forest, surrounded by mountains and fog, where we followed a wild river.   My shoes got all muddy, my face was chapped from the wind. 

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But then, After a few bends in the path we saw it.  We turned the corner of the mountain…

 

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and there was a beautiful glacier. Solid ice, and we took off skating.

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It was kind of like the weekend.  I wasn’t sure about volunteering because I wasn’t sure I was good enough for it.  I made excuses and doubted.  But I turned the first bend.  It was hard.  Every step got easier though, somehow.  I realized this was just as much about me getting to know these girls as it was about me reconnecting with my faith.  Something about that weekend made me turn around that bend, see how beautiful it is and really believe that I am supposed to be right in this exact place. 

For knowing that I am truly grateful.  And for getting the opportunity to retreat away, hang out with some amazing people, and connect with God so easily through worship and prayer.  Those two things have been a struggle lately and this weekend they come so naturally and so much deeper then they have in a while. 

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2 Responses to “it was a long weekend, so it’s a long post…”

  1. […] scared.   A whole weekend with Jr High kids still looks daunting to me.  (You can read all about fall retreat here….and how great that turned […]

  2. […] few weekends ago I took the junior highers on fall retreat.  It was the same location as last year… only sunny this […]


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