From Low to High: Youth Group Retreat

a personal reflection from Rob Scholl

eagle-2016-busCould we possibly have as good a time as last year? That’s the thought that ran through my mind as I boarded the bus for a 6 day trip (August 4-9) with 13 kids from our youth group and 2 other adult chaperones (including the rector) to Camp Eagle in Rock Springs, Texas on the Nueces River — our 2nd year. It’s the same thought that occurred to me a couple hours later when the bus started making loud noises and our freshman girls started shrieking — which led to a long detour at a Walmart in Kerrville for provisions and a new tire.

eagle-2016-lowLate, exhausted, and way past dinner, we arrived and were greeted by a familiar face– Nick–our counselor from last year (who the kids adored) joined by Scarlett who would very quickly become their new best friend. And just like that, my fears dissipated. Each day, we faced low, medium or high adventures. Low adventures included team building exercises like an American Ninja style ropes course or a game of zombies and monsters with stuffed animals and nerf darts. Medium adventures included rock climbing and the Waterfront with a water slide and a giant blob. And then there were the high adventures which included the Super Swing and the Zip 3000 – the longest zipline in Texas.

eagle-2016-evening-2Of course Camp Eagle also had a spiritual component. This year’s theme was “Home” which was demonstrated in Old Testament stories from Solomon to Malachi always pointing to Christ. Each morning the entire camp gathered for worship with Christian music and teaching from the staff youth pastor; small group sessions led by our counselors followed up on the day’s lesson; and an “evening experience” with a closing talk by the youth pastor repeated that lesson. One evening, we walked to different stations representing the various stages of life – which featured distractions (money, sports, job) but also opportunities to know Christ more fully. On another night, we were ordered by our masters (i.e. counselors) to make shelters to remind us how the Jews were treated by the Babylonians in exile. On our final night, after a long climb uphill, we got to rebuild the Temple realizing what it was like for the Jews who returned to Jerusalem from years of exile.

eagle-2016-group-2Were there challenges and hiccups on this trip? Of course. However, I am proud of these kids. They connected with one another in ways I have never seen before. They faced fears; they worked together to overcome obstacles; they showed leadership. But most importantly I saw them make memories and grow together spiritually – that’s something I will take with me for a very long time.

Rob Scholl is a lawyer by day and one of the tireless volunteer Youth Group leaders who accompanied our Youth Group on their retreat at Camp Eagle in Central Texas.