Imagine working a full week and on Friday afternoon, instead of heading home to relax, you rush off to a church parking lot. There you get into a van, school bus or coach loaded with dozens of students. You then make a multiple hour trip to a camp where you’ll be sleeping in a sleeping bag, eating camp food and staying in a cabin with a dozen students for a weekend retreat.
Anyone willing to give up a weekend to be an adult leader at a student retreat makes my “favorite people in the world” list. These retreats, which are so often life changing experiences for students, couldn’t happen without the volunteer leaders and the pastoral staff who commit themselves to the spiritual development of young people.
This past weekend we had our first of 14 student retreats that occur between now and the end of March at our Michigan camp. This first weekend was a Juniors Retreat designed for 4th thru 6th grade students. I had the opportunity to have Saturday night dinner with leaders and students from Ridge Point Community Church in Holland, MI.
Watching these leaders interact with their students was fun and encouraging. It was encouraging because elementary age students are the most important age group of people for the Church to invest in. And it was fun because it was apparent these leaders had special relationships with their students.
So make it a point to thank the youth leaders and other adults who work with kids that you know. Thank them for giving up their weekends, their sleep and their diets, but more importantly thank them for investing in the lives of our children.