To Live Today! To Care Today! To Be a Friend Today!
Jr. High Retreat in Freeport, Maine Upon Arrival... Friday night....
Friday was an evening of fun, games, and getting to know each other. Hi-lights included: A "Whopping and Whacking" Name Game An everyone-for-him/herself snowball fight Getting to Know You Bingo-- btw... no one mixes ketchup/mayonnaise for their french fries! Blind-folded Musical Chairs! Campfire and the arrival of 19 of the 30 dozen cookies we had for the weekend!
Saturday-- A great breakfast! started us off on the right track. We headed to Lost Valley Ski Mountain for a morning of lessons and skiing. After a bit of a late start, but a great instructor who stayed late!, we soon found that falling is as natural as standing when you first slap on the skis! A few of us seemed like naturals, while others struggled a bit. Two of our 12 retreaters didn't need lessons and headed straight for the top. They got in a lot of runs and were all smiles. One of the bunch decided snow-shoeing was the sport for him. He was worn out by the time he returned to the lodge! Of the remaining 8, 1 was intended to be our photographer but spent more time lifting people off the ground and carrying their things, and the other 7 had varied experiences on the mountain. Most wanted more runs, but it was time to turn our attention toward lunch and snowtubing. Off we go!
Lunch-- Oh my gosh! Amazing! And we picked up the remainder of our 30 dozen cookies. I'm not joking... we had that many. And we put a real good dent in them! =] After this, it was off to Oxford Plains Snowtubing. The hill had 4 "runs". 2 that were Smooth Sailing and 2 that were full of Jumps & Bumps. It didn't take long before we had groups of 2, 4, and ultimately 8 rapidly sailing down the hill. It was fast and fun! And we only suffered one casualty... a Dunkin' Donuts coffee on Jumps & Bumps. Astonishingly, we made it through the day with no injuries and all smiles! Snowtubing was great for everyone!
Saturday night-- After a stop at the YMCA for swimming, cannon balls!, and showers, we returned to the church for pizza & hotdogs. After introducing the kids to the Emmaus Center, a homeless shelter in Ellsworth, ME, we had campfire and snuggled in for the night. We projected a movie on to the wall (talk about a big screen!) and turned out the lights. Only a few of our wild bunch tried to stay up all night!
Sunday Church and Awesome Community Activity- To start the day, it was another terrific meal from our great cooks! Then, we quickly began one of the greatest events of our weekend. We found out that many kids, when they arrive at the Emmaus Center, have nothing, but the Center always puts a stuffed animal of some sort on their bed as a gift. We decided to jump on with that idea and do a little extra. The retreaters decorated backpacks with iron-on patches and fabric markers to make a pack they'd really love. Then, they wrote a note to the "receiver" explaining a bit about themselves and why they had decorated the bag the way they did along with well-wishes for them. Then, we put the stuffed animals inside the bags. How great, right?! The bags will be delivered to the Emmaus Center as a gift as we find ways to reach out to those about whom we care.
So, was the weekend a success? You be the judge, but I guarantee we've got 12 guys and girls ready to do it again!
Special thanks to ALL adults for ALL you did and the Freeport congregation for hosting!
We Proclaim Jesus Christ and Promote Communities of Joy, Hope, Love, and Peace New England Mission Center Youth- Find us on Facebook (All Are Called) Youth Leaders: Albert Iannuccilli, David Long, and Gregory McElvaine