Julene’s youth camp blog
There is something deeply life-changing in being a part of end-of-year camp for our youth. This year we ended up going to Tui Ridge Park, Rotorua. Our activities included the giant swing, bubble soccer, Waikite Thermal Pools, the Luge, Hamurana Springs, abseiling, high ropes, mountain biking and Kerosene Creak. We ate together, laughed, got angry, reconciled, missed home and had opportunity to connect more deeply with each other.
Not even the rain, cold, even hail, could “dampen” the overall experience. I was humbled to spend five days and four nights with an awesome team and beautiful youth: leaders who love unconditionally and give 100% of their time and youth who have made a conscience choice to step out of their “normal” for a week and knowingly embrace some challenges that push all of us right outside our comfort zone.
Personally, I was pushed out of my own comfort zone: I have poor balance and am extremely cautious of heights so the high-ropes was a wee bit uncomfortable; I have no real strength (or endurance) so the mountain biking forced me to push through and finish; and I don’t like getting wet but I laughed till my sides and stomach hurt in the bubble-ball games in the rain and mud puddles! I was continuously reminded that if it was hard for me, it was certainly hard for the youth joining us.
Early Wednesday morning I read John 4: the woman at the well, and was reminded some key truths that are vital in relating to the youth we work with. We see Jesus 1) suspend prejudice, 2) suspend judgement, 3) provide opportunity and 4) provide hope. The beautiful thing is the simple relational way in which Christ moves through these areas of life providing a brilliant example for each of us. What an exciting opportunity for me! And how I have grown in my relationship with others and God. So as I develop “creating meaningful learning experiences” I embrace the challenge of suspending prejudice and judgement so I can provide opportunities and hope.
My body is sore (my husband reminded me that I am older than I think); I have bumps, grazes and bruises; but my heart is full and peacefully joyful.