retreat

The weekend before last I went on a lil retreat with the Jr High youth I volunteer with. 

I admit, I went in with trepidation.  I admit, that after 9 months volunteering with the same group I am sometimes a little bit scared.   A whole weekend with Jr High kids still looks daunting to me.  (You can read all about fall retreat here….and how great that turned out!)

The weekend was wonderful.  Completely exhausting but incredible just the same.

On Saturday morning, our group had some free time.  A bunch of my girls and a few of the 8th grade girls came up to me begging to head out on a nature walk adventure. 

I am always up for a good adventure, they know it.  Plus it was sunny and crispy up there in the forest shadowed by Mt Rainier.

I was told there were many trails around the main lodge we were in and not to worry.  We took off walking around the outskirts looking for the sign of a well-maintained trail to lead us. 

We never did find one, but we did  find the next best thing:  a river.

Now, I am not about to get lost in the woods with a bunch of 13 yos.  That would be seriously bad.  I may do crazy things {like bribing buying my kids girl scout cookies so that we can eat them while having small group before bed}….but i do actually try to be responsible most of the time.

So I decide lets just follow the river, you know all over the river and through the woods style.

We start on the banks, looking at every piece of moss around, hiking further and further into the beautiful trees with the sun shining through the branches. 

After a few minutes we discover a GIANT log bridging over the water.  The girls are adventurous too, and well, they started tightrope style walking over it. 

We jump down, all alone in the big forest and hop into the water.

My girls had never been rock hopping before, you see.

And well.  I love hopping through rivers. 

Off we went, me snapping pictures of them every step, they falling ever-so- gracifully into the water at every step. 

Down the river they splashed and fell in many times.  Most of them were soaked in the cold water but laughing through every minute.  We discovered caves, mini waterfalls, rocks, laughter …and what a gorgeous setting that He created for us to play in. 

And, the best part of the whole trip came as we were hiking back to camp, most of them wet and muddy  {i was wet and muddy too, just had lacked falling into the river dozens of times}  …

and they thank me

for driving them, taking them for a hike, not getting them lost, taking photos of them splashing about, trying to answer all their questions about faith, teaching them how to use my camera that I am usually extremely protective over.

they thank me

not just for being the driver of the 12 passenger van, not just for holding all their stuff on our hike, not just for bringing the “bestest” board games, not just for always dancing with sillyness when we sing a certain song during worship, not just for always telling them what time it is and making sure we never miss lunch,

But for being their leader, friend, confidant.

They seriously thank me.

Seriously I should be thanking them.  They have no idea how much of a difference they have made in my life.

They.Are.The.Greatest. 

{and if you need more evidence of this fact, God gave me girls who ask me to wake up even earlier than our seven am weekend alarm.  Why you wonder?  To play a new board game I brought to teach them, of course!  Seriously, how perfect are they?}

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