Another year in the bag. This year I celebrated Canada Day at a Christian camp for girls. I was invited (back) to be a youth speaker.
Time allotted: 1 hour.
Subject: anything I chose.
Degree of difficulty: high.
I chose to speak on "Surviving a spiritual wilderness". I wanted to talk with them about how to hold to their values, standards and beliefs after they leave something like camp and go back to a world that holds to the opposite of nearly everything they stand for. We talked about the tools they have to stay close to God, and then the reality of the choices they have to make. I ended with the story of Joshua's last words (in the Old Testament) about "choosing this day whom you will serve."
I was up against a lot. First of all, an hour is a LONG time for any teenager to pay attention to one thing. Second, I was just after lunch and right before beach time. Third, I was on the second day of camp, which meant they had all stayed up the entire night before talking and laughing, which meant they had not slept. But fortunately, other than three girls (right in the front row!) that closed their eyes and seemed to sleep through the entire thing, I think I really got through to some of them. We talked, we laughed, I recounted some personal experiences and we took examples from biblical stories. This is the second year I have done this, and it was a great experience.
As the camp was a 2 1/4 hour drive away (in the beautiful Pinery Provincial Park in Grand Bend, Ontario, right on Lake Huron), I left early in the morning. I took the back roads, which I had mostly to myself. Windows down, music cranked, the open road stretched out before me and the brilliant blue sky above. I love driving, and I don't have much of a chance to take trips like this anymore. I arrived in time for lunch and took the chance to talk with some of the girls there. After lunch I gave my workshop, and then it was down to the beach. I'm a chicken for cold water, and so I passed the time chatting with friends, lying in the sand. I met a wonderful new friend with a passion for music like mine. She showed me some guitar tricks (I skill I intend to learn in the coming years) and we chatted about favourite songs, Christian music trends, marriage, and life in the church.
We cooked foil dinners over the fire for dinner (one of my favs!) before I reluctantly climbed back into the car to drive home. Even though it was a holiday, I found myself alone on the road again, driving with the sunset at my back.
I always love to work with teens. I'm absolutely useless in a class of young kids (like the disastrous seven-year-old Sunday School class I taught last week!), but give me a youth group and I'm in my element. I hope to do lots more work with teens in the future.