Monday, October 5, 2009

No Fear Living Middle School Retreat

Made it back from our middle school retreat Sunday afternoon. What a great weekend! Here are some of my take-a-ways:
- Middle School kids are so much fun! Their energy, their laughter, their desire to do just about anything ... man ... stuff like that helps keep me feeling young.
- Kids learned the importance of working together and supporting each other. We had several experiential things planned that would help each of our teams learn that importance of being their for each other. It was cool to see kids start doing one of the elements on the low ropes course and fail time and time again until they realized that to finish, they really needed to learn to work as a team. It was cool to see their eyes light up like, "Yeah, we needed to be doing this all along." They learned to trust each other and work together as a team.
- The high ropes course was AWESOME! Kids were really walking through some fears and doing something that many of them felt very uncomfortable doing. The final element on the high ropes course was a zip line, which everyone wanted to do. But, to get to the zip line you had to complete one fairly challenging element of the high ropes course. There was one kid that wasn't going to do it. He was the very last one and it was so cool to hear the kids cheering him on and encouraging him. He finally did it and to see the joy in his eyes as he was going down the zip line ... priceless!
- Our adults and high school students were amazing. They connecting so well with the kids on their team and really poured in to their lives over the weekend. I loved seeing that.
- The cardboard canoe races are becoming a tradition that our kids are really looking forward to each year.
- The kids' attitudes were great the entire weekend. It was cold and rained quite a bit, but there was barely any complaining and the kids made the most of the entire weekend. Really, they were great!
- We talked about fear over the weekend and it really seemed to connect with every student that was there. The combination of experientials, me talking for 15 minutes, and then a 30 minute team discussion really worked well.
- Things that I do at a middle school retreat that I normally don't do:
1) Eat peanut butter and jelly for breakfast.
2) Eat sour patch straws any time of the day or night
3) Sleep in a sweatshirt
4) NOT shower
5) Stink
- Overall, an incredible weekend that I think will really do a lot to build some unity in our ministry and it really helped me get to know many of our incoming 7th graders a whole lot better. Loved it!

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