Have I ever told you how much I love working with the youth of my church?
If I haven't, I'm surprised. I first got to know them well when I was asked to help with the Fall Confirmation Retreat, in which the 8th graders and freshmen spend a weekend at Camp Calvin Crest to get to know each other.
I was invited back for the Spring retreat, where the freshmen write their statements of faith, which will be read at their upcoming Confirmation, and where the 8th graders start to develop theirs.
First, there is time alloted for team-building and bonding.
They had to figure out how to climb through a web...
They had to complete a trust fall...
And they had some time to explore. Here, they ignored the sign that said, "For children 12 years of age and younger."
In the evenings, there were cabin shenanigans. Like cross-dressing...
And making tampon bouquets to be delivered to the boys' cabin.
Oh, to be 14 again.
These kids had a lot of fun, but when it came down to it, they did some really awesome work. When it came time to write their faith statements, my pastor led them through various exercises to get them thinking about what to include. Some parts of it were completed individually, and other parts involved sharing of thoughts and opinions. I was literally moved to tears as I listened to these kids share their faith journies and experiences.
Although they come from different schools, different socioeconomic backgrounds, and different family types, they are the same in that they are incredibly smart, insightful, reflective, loving, and faithful people. They love God, and they love each other. And they aren't afraid of vocalizing that love.
Admittedly, I covet what they have experienced through their Confirmation class. My experience was much different... lots of memorization and boring curriculum. Because of what I didn't have, I have thoroughly enjoyed living the experience vicariously through them. And I am so thankful to have been included, even in a small way, in their faith journey.