Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Part 1 - Youth Fall Retreat 2010 - Circle Square Ranch

On October 15, our youth group, well most of them, packed into three vehicles and trekked once again to Circle Square Ranch in Arden, Ontario.  

We were on our way to attend the annual Classis Eastern Canada Fall Youth Retreat.  I'm the Chair of the Classis Eastern Canada Youth Ministry Team, and we host this retreat each year for our youth from our CR Churches.  

This year we had a crowd of 52, slightly less than last year.  That certainly didn't mean we had less fun. How could one not have fun with my youth group in attendance.  : )  

In addition to attending, our youth praise band was going to lead worship for the weekend.  That meant we brought Christine along as well.  She helps with our youth praise team.   

I've broken up the weekend into two parts due to the plethora of pictures that were taken during it.  Read on and enjoy the pictoral diary of the weekend.......

Here is one one of the three van's and it's occupants.  My son is very popular when it comes to vans because he has his iPod and radio transmitter so everyone can hear his music.  Too bad some of the songs have questionable lyrics, yet no one in the group seems to mind.  Ah, more work to do in the area of parenting/youth ministry.  

We arrived at CSR at around 8 pm.  We would have been there earlier, but Leah was VERY late, and I forgot about an extra passenger we were taking along, sorry Fayth, so Christine had to go back and get an extra seat for her van.  When we arrived we checked in with John and Debbie and settled into our rooms.  Most of us then set up our instrumentation for the praise team, while the rest gathered in the dining hall for opening games.  

After we set up our stuff for praise and worship, we took a break on the couches.... well at least most of us did.  Megan was still energetic so she didn't need to sit down.  

The games are always fun at our fall retreat.  I confess that my spiritual gift is NOT games.  I don't do games in Youth Ministry.  I delegate that to others, and in this case that means Andrea and her youth group do games.  They excel in it, and as you can see, Leah is enjoying herself.  

Speaking of Andrea, here's a pretty classic picture of her.  

Here is the room we used for our worship and speaker times.  

Ben looks very confused with the sound board while we were setting up.  

I had to bring my son's drums from home for this event.  It took a while to set them up, but once done Chris makes them hum.  

Here is the rest of the group getting ready to begin worship time.  We had Chris on drums, Megan on flute, Hannah on Keyboard and vocal, Rosy on Keyboard #2, Fayth on bass guitar, and Christine and myself on vocal.  Oh, and our fan club of Leah and Fontana.  

The room slowly fills up.  

We begin our praise and worship time and everyone begins to get involved and excited.  

Here we are playing from the left side of the room.  

From the right side of the room.  

After worship and speaker time we had an evening snack. Chicken wings.  They were awesome.   I'm not sure what Kevin was doing next to me, but I didn't really care either. I was focused on the wings.  

Jeannine and Melanie coming in from outside.  Two great youth leaders in our youth group.  One even went above and beyond the call of duty this weekend....but more on that later.  : )  

After snack time we give free time for people to play board games, or socialize, or just go to bed.  Lights out comes at midnight.  

Some chose to play a game called 4 on a couch.  Something to do with trying to get 4 boys, or 4 girls on the couch.  First one to do that wins.  It sure was noisy.  

Each retreat in each context has it's own set of traditions.  Our tradition is that the youth leaders play a card game called 7's.  We use an object that we don't want to have at the end of the game because it gives us points.  Here we used a small bear.  I liked him.  

At midnight everyone went off to bed, and then two adult males and adult females stay up to ensure everyone goes to bed and stays in their rooms. I usually take the first night b/c kids can be the most rambunctious that first night.  I ended up staying up until 1:30 am because my son's room wouldn't go to sleep.  Here is Chris and Jacob trying to wake up in the morning.  

Hannah decided to get out her brightest clothing for the morning.  It hurt my eyes just to say hello to her, but she seemed happy despite little sleep.  

Before breakfast began many in our youth group gathered on the couches just to socialize.  

Before each meal, each youth group present takes devotions for a meal.  We had Saturday morning and here are Leah and Hannah reading and praying for a blessing on the meal....or is that Hannah doing her hair.....not sure.... :)   

The food is quite good at CSR.  This morning it was french toast with sausage and fruit.  

Doesn't that look amazing.  It tasted really good too.  

There are those in our group who like to wear their food, rather than eat it.  Figures it would be Hannah and Fontana.  We should nick name them the grapes of wrath, well, maybe not wrath, maybe smiles.......

Here's Jeannine posing for a picture.  Well, maybe not posing.....more like suffering through my picture taking.  Remember, I have something to share about Jeannine later on in the blog.....

After breakfast it was time to get our praise team practicing and warming up our sleep deprived voices.  

More pictures of the group interacting with praise and worship.  

The praise team working hard, but having fun with praise and worship.  

Many of the songs were lively and the group engaged in clapping or other actions to the songs.  

Our speaker for the weekend was Peter B.  He shared his life experiences with us and they were really interesting and wonderful to hear.  

After our worship and speaker time there was a brief break before we entered into some group games. If you give the girls in our youth group that sort of time, there are bound to be some strange things that are going to happen. Here it just happens to be taking pictures of themselves shaking their heads and showing messy hair.....here is Hannah......my only question is.......why?????

After the break we ventured into a wonderful fall Saturday.  The sun was shining and warmed the face, even though there was a hint of cool breeze in the air.  A perfect day for some group games.  Here Andrea lines everyone up for some game time.  

Now, truth be told, not every youth leader thinks its important to be part of the games section of the retreat.  This is the Sr. section for those not wanting to participate.  I don't usually participate either, so I can't really bug these youth leaders on this one.  

Kevin usually gets in there like a dirty shirt,  as you'll see in the next pictures, literally.  Here he is locked together with others in our group for a great game of trying to stay together as a group while others try to pull them apart.  The kids love it.    

One thing about having rain the night before, and then playing a game in the grass.... it means that you are going to get dirty.  Sorry parents, but I think you did a lot of laundry and stain removing when your child(ren) got home.  Here are some of our group proudly showing off their dirt stains.  

Our next game was a scavenger hunt.  Here's the listing of all the things that each team had to go and find on the grounds.  

At the end, the teams had to have their items verified. Here is Joy going through the stuff they've collected.  

You can't quite see this, but this is my finger nail.  On the scavenger hunt listing was "nail".  Since it didn't say what type of nail, I told some of my YP to go to my van and look on the driver's side floor mat.  There they would find a nail.  They soon realized that I meant a bitten finger nail....didn't seem to gross Fontana out, but Hannah and Megan....well : ) .  

After the scavenger hunt it was time for another game.  This time the group was split up into two lines.  Everyone was numbered off on each side and when your number was called you needed to run to the middle and grab a t-shirt that was on the ground.  You then needed to get some of that t-shirt on your person before the other person did.  This game was fun to watch......

When Kevin plays games like this, or let's say Duck, Duck, Goose,  he plays for keeps.  Something I think the YP like about him.  Here he is grabbing that t-shirt and running like crazy.  

Seems that Jacob out wrestled Rosy on this one.  

All that exercise made us hungry.  Chili and cornbread muffins. . . . ..  

I really liked the corn muffins.  I think I had 10 - 12 of them, as the stack of paper wrapping attests to.  They were just sooooooo good.  :  ) 

This takes us to the end of part 1.  Move on over to part 2 to get the rest of the story, and find out what happened to Jeannine..........   : (  

Part 2 - Youth Fall Retreat 2010 - Circle Square Ranch

After a great lunch it was time to enjoy the perfect fall day with some activities offered by CSR.  We broke off into 5 groups and did several activities.  My group began with High Ropes.  Here Chris and Hannah try to get their climbing harnesses on.  It's not as easy at it looks.  

Right Christine?

We didn't have alot of time on the ropes course, but were able to get most of our group up.  Here Jacob and Hannah are climbing up to do some aerobatic stuff and try to get each other off the log.  

Hannah looks petrified up there.  

Ben starts out being nice with a handshake, but he wasn't that nice afterwards.....

Here is my son fighting against Leah.....oh, and notice how he's being beaten by Leah.....hmmmm.  Got any explanations for us Chris?

Here are Rosy and Kevin up on the log.  Rosy told me she beat him.....once out of four times.  Not bad if you're playing against Kevin.  I can only imagine........they were in a different group.  

Fontana was very excited about going climbing.   She harnessed up and began to climb once she knew her spotters and bilayer was ready. .....

....as she climbed higher, however, she got progressively more scared.   She froze about half way up and had to come down.  I won't be bugging you about that Fontana b/c you wouldn't get me up on that course for any amount of $$$.  

Megan enjoyed her climbing time too, but I really think she rather enjoys posing for the camera with strange faces.   

After high ropes it was time for BMX biking.  It took a while to find bikes that were ridable, but eventually they all did.  Here Chris shows off his bike technique.  

The group went for a long ride while they waited for the next event to occur.  

While some of the group biked, we watched another group do Archery.  Here's Kevin giving Christine some pointers.  There is an art to proper Archery.  I learned a few things from Kevin that proved helpful.  

Here's Jeannine taking a shot at the target.  She did quite well.   Have I told you that there's a story about Jeannine that's coming soon.....stay tuned......

Here I am trying out my technique.  As you can see, I'm aiming a bit high, but eventually I began to hit the target. Ben looks very unimpressed with my technique.  He was much better at it than me.  : ( 

Chris was asked to pose for the camera by the girls in our group.  He happily obliged.  : )  

Brother and Sister, Ben and Hannah, show off their ability.  Ben did very well....Hannah....well....let's just move on.....

Not everyone hit the target.  I think that's Christine going way back to get the arrows that missed the target......could be someone else, but not sure.   

Here is the target that we used.   It was well used for sure.  

After Archery we needed to walk to the horseback riding stables.  As we walked, some in the group decided to jump off a pile of dirt and be creative.  Here's Jacob......

...and Chris.....

.....and Ben.....

It was then time for horseback riding.  Joy enjoyed her horse and her horse seemed to cooperate with her.  

Melanie has worked at CSR, so she felt right at home here.  I can't say I did.  Horseback riding was ok for me last year, but I prefer a horsepower that will respond when I ask it to.  Horses don't.  : )  

Here's the group on the trail.  

Chris was on Samson.  The same horse that stepped on my foot last year.  He did better for Chris this year.  

Fontana rode this smaller white horse.  It had an awful cough.  

Jeannine, too, has worked at CSR.  She did just fine on the horses......however, there was another activity that proved to be too much for her....as we'll soon discover.  

Christine feels the same way about horses as I do.  We can take them or leave them.  

Hmmmm, I think Megan and this horse are both smiling.......

After riding, a short break for a picture.  

And some interesting photography.

Our final group event was Skateboarding on the skateboard park.  My group found an interesting way to use their boards.  Hey, I give them marks for creativity, and safety.  Most of them aren't very good on a board, and these hills are very dangerous if you don't have proper balance.......

My son gathered up the courage to try some of the ramps.  I was a bit concerned, but he handled himself well.  He learned from last year when he took a pretty good fall  (see last year's entry).  

Now a bit about one of our fearless youth leaders, Jeannine.  She isn't that sure on a skateboard, but she really wanted to try the easiest ramp.  I was not encouraging her to go down the ramp because you shouldn't if you are unsure of your skill and balance.  However, all of a sudden she did, and she made it successfully.  

Boosted by that success, she decided to try again........I'm reminded of the time when my daughter broke her arm while camping with me as she told me.....Just one more time daddy....

Jeannine went down that ramp, as you see in this picture.....  

Unfortunately she didn't land the ramp well and fell.  An awkward enough fall that we found out after the weekend that she fractured her wrist.  I felt bad for her, and watched out for her for the next while.  She handled the pain pretty well. 

Take a look at a brief video clip of that ramp ride.....

You didn't think I was going to show you the fall did you?  I'm not that mean you know! : ) Don't worry Jeannine, I'll get you a personal copy for posterity sake sometime soon. 

Soon it was time for dinner.  Roast beef, potatoes, vegetables.....yummy.  

I wrapped Jeannine's arm first, after she iced it for a bit, but apparently I wrapped it too tight.  Melanie wrapped it again, and then Kevin did it yet again.  3 times the charm......

After dinner it was time for worship and Pete to speak.  

Fayth was a great addition to our group.  A natural bass player.  I just wonder how we could get her to migrate over to our youth group.....hmmmmmm   : )  

The older members of the youth group....I know, I know,  speak for yourself....is what Christine is thinking....

We ended our evening with some night games. You see the bubble bulging out of Leah's back.  Each YP had a balloon placed at their back and others had to try to break them.  Teams were identified with different color glow sticks.  

I just liked this picture of the glow sticks that John took of me.  

Even better was Kevin and I jousting in the dark.  

Everyone was off to bed by midnight again.  It was Kevin's turn to be up, but he didn't have to stay up very long.  Everyone was tired because of all the activity.  Many also had face sun burns because of the sunshine.   We woke up a bit later on Sunday morning and had a light continental breakfast before our worship time.  It looks like Ben didn't get enough sleep.....

Here we are leading everyone in worship once again.  

Pete closed out our time sharing some great life stories.  Thanks Pete for sharing how God has worked in your life.  

A group shot just before lunch.  We had a great group once again this year.  

John and I each took pictures of each other after the group shot.  

Here's a pan picture of the kitchen area.  

We had a great brunch of bacon and eggs, packed up, said our goodbye's, and then headed for home.  As soon as we arrived, father of Jeannine wasted no time getting a temporary cast on her arm.  Nice that they had one....but I guess that means this has happened before, eh Peter...?

That brings us to the end of our weekend festivities.  We were blessed with great weather, a great group, great worship, and a great speaker.  Thanks to all the youth leaders who came out for this weekend and helped all the YP have a good weekend.   Thanks to our youth praise band for some great worship time.  I'm really proud of the talent they have, and the fact they are using their gifts for God's glory.  

P.S.  Jeannine spent about 4 hours in the hospital, only to find out that she'd have to come back because the xray's weren't conclusive enough to prove her wrist was actually broken.  Here she is at youth group on Tuesday, still smiling.  

Hannah made a get well card for Jeannine too, which we all signed.  I think that lifted her spirits too.

Well, I guess the doctors decided Jeannine wrist was fractured after all.  Here's the cast to prove it.  It'll make a great souvenir, eh Jeannine?   :  )  She wants to keep the cast clean, but I really wanted to sign it.......come on Jeannine..........!!!!!