Sunday, August 13, 2017

Youth Group Camping Trip // Zip-Lining + the Book of Daniel

~Day 1~

Wind poured through the windows as the bus flew down the highway.  The seats were full with over twenty teenagers, along their duffel bags and backpacks.  One boy blasted strange and annoying music from his phone in the back, making it even more difficult for my friends - A, B, C, and N - and I to tell weirdly hilarious stories via taking turns with sentences.  One of them involved unitigers (the offspring of a tiger and a unicorn), and another involved rats taking over the world because all the humans had moved underground.

Finally, we reached the state park and unloaded.  Unfortunately, the memory of that first day is a little foggy.  I'm almost certain we went swimming, after setting up tents and getting a bit settled, and I'm 100% positive we had our first Bible study from the Book of Daniel that evening.  A also showed us 300+ pictures from her previous trip out of the country, in our tent after dark when most everyone else was at the campfire eating s'mores.  Another of my friends, L, got annoyed at me (good-naturedly) because I wouldn't stop making sarcastic comments and then laughing hysterically at myself, which made B laugh hysterically as well.  

Eventually, poor A made it through the pictures.

~Day 2~

After morning devotions (taught by the eccentric youth counselor M) and breakfast, we went ZIP-LINING.  The highlight of the trip, if you ask me!  I had never been zip-lining before, so it was a new and surreal experience for me.  There were five lines total, all with varying speeds and views and lengths.  Looking down at how far away the ground was, one thing was certain.  If any of us fell... we'd be dead.

But I wasn't thinking about that.  During the first line, I looked out across the view as I zoomed by and shouted "I love You, Jesus!"  My voice was lost in the wind, so it wasn't like anyone else could hear me, though.  Except God :)  

One of the best places to see the Lord is out in the wild, in the nature.  Away from the distractions of technology and everyday life.  That's the purpose of the youth retreats we go on.  To escape for a few days.  We took advantage of the trip by having two Bible studies per day, as well as an early morning devo and assigned evening readings.  The stories in Daniel are well-known, but even after studying Nebuchadnezzar's dreams AGAIN, and the golden image story AGAIN, and the lion's den story AGAIN, God had new things to share, new lessons to teach.  He never runs out of things to say.  

via Pexels

Here are only a few of the notes I took from our Daniel studies, many of them little quotes from the pastor that he emphasized or that spoke to me.

My mind will convert my heart.

The bands of Babylon are always trying to entice me.

Having a relationship with God costs me time.  Something else is going to lose out.

~Day 3~

Team Royal Coffee
Team S.A.P. (Saved And Powerful)
Team Fro Breez (my team, because one of our teammates had an afro.  I did NOT suggest it, but it kinda just happened...)

And there were a few other teams, but I can't remember what they were called.  Anyway, the group divided into these teams for challenges.  We had a relay race in which each member of the team had to create a tower of cups with a base of six cups working up to one.  You had to put them all back in a stack before the next teammate could do it.  

We also did a really hard challenge in which each team had to create a stack of cups with a base of four.  The thing is, you couldn't use your hands.  Five strings were tied to a rubber band, and each member held the end of a string.  To make the tower, you had to work together to pull the band apart by pulling the strings and then slacken it once it was around a cup.  Lift the strings and balance the cup on the tower.  Pull the strings as one and carefully lift the band from around the cup.  If any cups fell off the picnic table - and some did - we had to somehow pick them up using the rubber band device.  No touchy.  

Does that make any sense?  If not, just realize that it was extremely difficult, requiring a lot of patience and team cooperation.

God decided to dump rain on us in torrents during our mini Amazing Race, which wasn't exactly convenient, what with all the running.  In flip-flops.  Up hills.  Then aaaaaallllll the way back to the campsite.  Team Fro Breez finished first for that particularly challenging challenge (whoop-whoop!), and in the end, we made second place XD  Right behind S.A.P. and right above Royal Coffee.

via Pexels

Nights around the campfire were fun, with guitar music and s'mores.  N and B always went to bed earlier, but C, A, and I liked to sit around the fire for a while.  One girl plays guitar a lot and has a really pretty voice, and she led us in "Came To My Rescue" and "Heaven Song" and "All My Tears."  Plus many more, but those are some of my favorites, and we sang them kinda frequently during this camp-out.

I called, and You answered
And You came to my rescue and I
Want to be where You are


My soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can't wait to join the angels and sing
My heaven song


It don't matter where you bury me
I'll be home, and I'll be free
It don't matter where I lay
All my tears be washed away

I could say more, but this post is long enough.  I'll be keeping this youth retreat tucked into my memory as an unforgettable experience, and I pray that the fruit from it endures throughout all the rest of our lives on this earth, both individually and as a close-knit group of young people on fire for Jesus.  Now I can't wait until next year's!

So, what about you?  Have you ever been on a youth retreat?  What was it like?  Where did you go?  Leave a comment or two!


  1. This sounds so lovely! <3 I really, really enjoyed reading your experiences and some parts had me laughing and nodding with understanding. I have so many good memories with camping/friends. That just makes me think of how I should share things like this more often because I love how you shared your experience <3

    Beautiful post Lila! xox

    Anna |

    1. It WAS lovely! I'm soooo glad you enjoyed reading about it!!! Personally, I would love for you to share something like this on your blog - part of the reason I wrote this type of post is because I love READING that type of post :D

      Thanks again, Anna! xox

  2. Ooh loved this! So fun to hear about it and all the details cos I've literally been to a youth group only twice. Yeah.

    And that cup stacking game!? I did it at a conference when I was .. uh.. eight, I think :D Fun...but challenging. A little while ago I was obsessed with card towers. Making towers out of Uno cards xD *realizes I'm off subject* SO yes, towers are fun to make.


    1. Thanks, Lisa! My church has quite a lot of teens, so the youth group thrives because of that :)

      Oh, cool! It was a fun, if difficult, challenge. And I've never even tried making a card tower before, for some reason... But making towers are fun - I totally agree!

      Lol! Veer off subject all you want, girl! I don't mind at all ;)

  3. Awesome post! That sounded like it was a blast!!!
    I am to go to a youth retreat with my youth group next summer, but we're changing our program, so I'm not sure. I hope so! *crosses fingers*

    1. Thanks, Gray!! It absolutely WAS a blast! I hope you have your retreat, and if so, that you have a blast as well :D *crosses fingers with you*


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