Beach Retreat: A Different Perspective
July 22, 2015
By Sarah Blanchard
As a student, I always looked forward to High School Beach Retreat, and as an intern, not much had changed. The high school interns got a look at the administrative side of planning student trips, and getting to work on games and activities for Beach Retreat seemed to increase my excitement for this trip!
Beach Retreat this year was an incredible experience. After a seven-hour bus ride filled with silly games and crazy riddles, we were all ready to be off the bus and move into our home for the week at Surfside Christian Retreat. This week was a great time to get to know the students and to develop relationships with them. I loved being around their energy and excitement for life, and seeing their desire for the Lord was one of the most encouraging things I’ve experienced.
The verse for the week was Jeremiah 29:13, “If you seek me you will find me.” Every night we had worship and a message where Holly, the speaker, dove into what it means to seek the Lord. Then in the mornings, we split into small groups led by the high school seniors to talk about what everybody took away from the previous night’s message. I loved being a part of the small group because it gave me a chance to really get to know some high school girls, and it was really fun to see my group’s high school senior lead and share with the younger girls.
We did a lot of fun things on Beach Retreat; we went mini golfing, played real life Where’s Waldo, had a synchronized swimming contest, and a beach volley ball tournament, but my favorite part by far was spending time with students and forming friendships with them. These students have such passion and enthusiasm for life, and it was such a blessing to be able to share in that. A lot of times, the most meaningful conversations we had were ones that happened while we were just sitting out on the beach or by the pool. I remember at the beginning of the trip that I was so surprised and excited at how willing the students were to open up and then also to listen to anything I had to say.
I’ve also loved that since we’ve come back from beach retreat, we still maintain these relationships. It’s so fun to see familiar faces at Sunday School and Bible study and to be able to keep up with their lives and how they are doing. I feel like this trip really kick-started a lot of the relationships I now have with students, and then, along with that, I’ve gotten to meet their friends who weren’t able to come on the trip.
This summer has already been so wonderful and encouraging, and I’m so excited to see what the rest of the summer brings, and how the Lord continues to move through students and relationships!