Branching Out

Last weekend was the second annual YLA Fall Retreat. On Friday evening, we scooted down Buffalo Gap Road with 16 of our young leaders to the Presbyterian Encampment in historic and beautiful Buffalo Gap for a couple of days of learning and laughing and loving.  This year’s theme was Branching Out and focused on unique and maybe even uncomfortable ways to grow and manifest the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. We invited five local speakers to come and share their thoughts and issue challenges to our young leaders. In between, we played lots of games – including a highly competitive game of hula hoop rock, paper, scissors – ate, talked, laughed and enjoyed the beauty of the campgrounds, including several surprise visits from the local deer. This group of young people are a delight to be with at any time, but this weekend was particularly so, almost magical. Branch out and come join us sometime and experience their magic yourself.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Just listen to what they have to say:

Well, this would be my second time going to one of our YLA retreats and honestly, I love it. This gives me the time to stretch my mind and body. The time that CCC takes out of their weekends to take us there is great. We continue to grow outside of our summer camps together. We get to connect with nature and one another. To me this isn’t just a vacation from home, it’s a great experience with the people I love. I will do anything to relive those days again.
— Nae Nae, 11th grade
Hey Ms. Janet, What I learned was that Jesus is always with us and that all people aren’t the same and that we have to appreciate the way people are and I also learned that working together is a good way to get to know other people and I really thank you for taking me because I had such a good time with everybody and all the games. I didn’t just want to go because of the games and stuff, I wanted to go because I knew it would be educational for me and I learned a lot of new stuff I didn’t know.
— Destiney, 6th grade
I loved going to the retreat! It was very fun, and I learned so many great things about Jesus and the way our emotions work. I absolutely loved it and I can’t wait until next year!
— Ebany, 10th grade
This year’s retreat was very fun and just gives you a chance to embrace nature, learn about god, and even branch out. The best part about branching out is that you can make friends you might never have even taken the time to talk to before.
— Amya, 7th grade
The retreat this year was very different than the first one. I really liked what we talked about. I liked how we had to sit with different people because I learned a lot about other people because I “Branched Out”. I learned a lot of stuff like to keep goals and be patient and to have kindness and a lot more. The stuff I learned was important to me because when you’re with other people you have to patience and kindness and other stuff to succeed in life and get through things.
— Daeja, 7th grade
Thank you Mrs. Janet for inviting me to the retreat and it was really fun and a great learning experience. I really loved to play the different games and listen to the speakers talk about the fruits of the spirit. I had so much fun.
— Malia, 6th grade
What stood out to me was how everyday a man or woman came in and talked about a word or phrase and how we acted them out or played a game to explain it and how we gave fellowship to our peers and the food oh also how we made paper airplanes and my first time experiencing something different and new and I also wanna thank you for letting me have a fun 3 days there.
— Ezmi, 6th grade