I left the youth group retreat last night with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I saw kids praising God with the passion and the energy that was truly moving. They were praying for each other, crying, listening the sermons attentively, playing games and doing skits with competiveness, and all that good stuff. I think they really enjoyed it. This has become a cliche by this point, but I'll say it anyway: I hope they can keep the fire going.
On the other hand, I was in a weird funk throughout the whole retreat. I was happy to be there, but I did not believe I was actually contributing to the experience. The small group times were horrendous. My class is a great group of kids -- they are attentive, talkative, smart, and genuinely curious. Johny is so jealous of my class. But you know what, I can't teach them a thing about God because they all have A.D.D. During a discussion for the Sunday morning QT, they literally went through six different topics -- ranging from Tupac to juicy fruit gum -- before I had to show my pissed-off-face. Now what ya'll don't know is that I don't show that face very often. I could probably count the amount of people that have seen it on the fingers of my left hand. "But Dan," you say. "You always look pissed off." Yes, that is true. My regular look is equal in comparison to pissed off looks of normal people. But my pissed-off-face is 10 times worse. And it only appears when the nine dragonballs are found and shat on by a purple monkey... or when I get really, really, really, really, really pissed off.
We had prayer time after every rally, every night. I'm not very big on prayer. No, scratch that. I can pray. But not for other people, and not among 100 other people sobbing their eyes out. It's really hard for me. I did manage to pray for each of my kids, but at the cost of shortening my life by seven years. You think I'm exaggerating? Were you there? Did you see my face on Sunday night? I could barely walk.
I was in charge of the games with Eric and Diane. Diane did majority of the work though. I did have to set up the games and basically "referee" over them so I didn't really get to spend time with my activity group. There was nothing surprising about them being in first place when I wasn't there, and then dropping down to third when I actually participated in their skit. I'm cursed, just like Chris Webber.
Praise was good. The kids were so into it that they never noticed when we messed up our parts, which was quite often.
Our seminar wasn't so good. We did not prepare very much, and it showed. Sorry I wasn't any help.
The only genuinely fun moment of the retreat was when I played volleyball with a bunch of kids on the third day. "Total Domination." J. Lo and I ruled the court. I lost my voice.
Oh and there was that moment last night, right before several of us teachers left ('cause of school, jobs, etc.), when like 20 kids came up to me to say goodbye and each of them highfived me. Wow. Where did all that love come from? WHY DID YOU WAIT 'TIL THE LAST DAY TO SHOW IT?! But hey, I was really touched. Thanks, kids.
So kids loved the retreat. Me, not so much. But it was all for the kids, so that's all that matters.