For the last few months, I have been working as a leader with the Young Women of my church ward. And as a leader, I was asked to accompany my group of girls to the annual retreat at Whitewater State Park (Kyle and I camped there this summer, but this time we stayed in cabins). We left after the youth had gotten out of school on Friday, so we ended up getting there in the evening. With a quick unpacking of cars and choosing our bunks, we settled down for dinner, game tournament, and a devotional on this year’s theme; coming unto Christ.
As expected, when the youth were allowed to go to bed, most of them decided to stay up and pull pranks on each other (which I may or may not have aided), including the YM trapping us in our cabin by shoveling a good four feet of snow in front of our door. When the youth finally got to sleep it was around 3 am. Thankfully, I was bunking with another YW leader, and had a great time chatting with her until everyone had settled down.
Morning came much too quickly as we were up and going by 7:30, but it was well worth it. Because we had arrived when it was dark, we had missed seeing the beautiful area we were in; surrounded by the bluffs and a winding river. It was a beautiful sight to look around and see nothing but our cabins nestled into the nature, and all coated in snow.
A delicious breakfast was followed by a hike through the woods and up into the bluffs (where I enjoyed getting shots with my new iPhone macro and wide angle lens). Along the way, we stopped on a peak and discussed many of the challenges that the youth are facing, how to deal with them, and how to stay close to Christ. To demonstrate that concept, our Bishop had us all stand in a line, close our eyes, and hold onto the shoulders of the person in front of us. We then walked a good portion of the hike without being able to see where we were going. However, we did have a “leader” whispering directions to the person in front of the line. That leader represented following Christ and the promptings we receive in life. Though it was a simple activity, it made a big impact of the youth. It helped to remind them that they are not alone as they go through life. They will always have someone to turn to when they aren’t sure what to do.
After our return to the main cabin and warming up with cups of hot chocolate, the youth broke into groups and took classes also relating to the theme. Meanwhile, I helped clean up a bit, and then took a nap by the fire. I’m sure that someone has a blackmail worthy picture of me, but that nap felt so good. Lunch soon followed, as did a quick clean up of the cabins, and then we were on our way home. Though our trip to the cabins in the woods may have been short, it was such a lovely way to spend part of my weekend. And, being able to spend it with a group amazing youth, made it all the better.