This past weekend I had the privilege of being asked to lead worship for a retreat weekend for our church’s Junior High ministry (“The Vibe”) at a campground/retreat centre in Muskoka.
Now I’m turning 60 in a month, and to think that these kids (and their leaders) would want ME to lead worship was a honour. I had a fantastic time, and would gladly do it again, but being around nearly 60 kids from Grade 8 to 10, and “Jr. Leaders” up to Grade 12, definitely taught me a few things over the 48 hours I was with them.
Here is my list, in no particular order:
- I really love these kids!
- They have way more energy than I.
- Jr. High’s can, and will, sing worship songs loud and heartfelt!
- I cannot climb a rock climbing wall if my life depended on it! In fact, I couldn’t even hang there!!
- Everything needs to be explained at least three times.
- Everything needs to be explained.
- All explanations need to be repeated.
- You must repeat your explanations.
- Hygiene is not high on the priority list for most Jr. High’s.
- They have way more energy than I do!
- Always bring a pillow and towel.
- Buffets are not a safe place for kids who like to lick spoons and put them back in the serving bowls.
- Chefs can get quite angry when they lick the spoon.
- Chefs aren’t really all that pleased when they stick their finger in the fruit spread bowl either, two meals later.
- I can still yell “Quiet!” louder than the best of them.
- Tylenol is my friend.
- Cardboard, duct tape, garbage bags and rope don’t generally make good sleds. But with the right design they will win you a prize.
- Jr. Highs like their marshmallows burnt to a crisp over the open fire, or stuck to the floor with spaghetti sticking out (don’t ask!), not golden brown.
- They have way more energy than I do, and they can stay up way later than I do.
- They sometimes have problems finding their rooms at night.
- You must repeat any explanations at least three times.
- Even the smallest of them have feet that are big enough to knock over a guitar in an area of the room where they’ve been told is out of bounds.
- You must repeat any explanations at least three, or more, times.
- You must never leave a microphone on in a room unattended by adults, even for a moment.
- Coats are optional when outdoors in winter.
- You must check the doors and lights in your van after the kids exit it.
- You must carry jumper cables at all times.
- You cannot jumpstart another car from a Ford Transit (the batteries are buried in a place only a fully qualified mechanic can get to).
- You must have friends that will drive 15 minutes back, to give you a jump start when the campground staff can’t, due to insurance liability reasons.
- McDonalds on Hwy 48 near Beaverton Ontario is the busiest McD’s on the planet on a Friday night during retreat season.
- Kids can do things that no adult can ever do — like walk up to, and touch the nose of a wild deer. (Still can’t believe that one!)
- A lot of these kids have a faith that would put a lot of adults to shame.
- Retreats are wonderful events in the lives of these kids (and me!).
- I love these kids!!