In 2004, the middle school staff began throwing around the idea of creating an experience for the middle school students that would allow them to grow in their relationships with each other and with the Lord. We wanted to provide experiences outside of the classroom where students could grow these relationships in a guided, yet authentic way. This is where the concept of the middle school retreats began. Fall retreat is a sweet opportunity for students and teachers to get to know each other and begin to build relationships. By winter retreat, bonds of friendship are solid and students have been sharing their spiritual journeys for a while. It is often at this retreat where the connection between head and heart are made, and where students begin to better understand their value in God’s story.
In late January, we took our middle schoolers to Mt. Baker for the 14th year in a row! The excitement and laughter began early Wednesday morning and didn’t end until late Friday afternoon. Our school-wide theme this year is “BELIEVE” which was woven throughout our chapel times. Our guest speaker, Sam Hebert, challenged students with the idea that we are adopted into His kingdom, we are redeemed and forgiven of our sins, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and above all we are crazy loved by Jesus. We laughed, worshiped, had silly discussions, had deep discussions, had quiet time with the Lord, sledded in the snow, ate pickle juice snow cones, and held one fierce BINGO tournament…and that was just day one!
I have been blessed to be a part of many retreats, but there are a few things I am continually reminded of.
1. Kids can consume a 5 lb. bag of sour patch kids and still eat dinner.
2. Kids find pure, uninhibited joy in the simplest things when electronics are not around.
3. When given the time and opportunity to do so, kids deeply desire to know Jesus better.
4. When given the time and opportunity to do so, kids WANT to honestly share their hopes and fears and joys.
5. I truly feel privileged and blessed beyond measure to be able to do life with middle schoolers.
6. I think we should always have a three day weekend after a retreat. =)
Blessings from the middle school team!
Middle School Language Arts/Bible/Health