and i am tired!!
So, there was the potential for internet access this week, however, at the dorm in which I was sleeping, it required having your own computer and cord. I had neither, so then it would have required borrowing(begging) another one of the volunteer staff to use their computer, which in turn would have required them to go to their room to get it for me and bring it down into the lounge area, which is where the plug-in was. And the lounge was always full of various and random amounts of youth and adults and would have afforded little privacy. So there was no blogging this week (as you have probably noticed). So I will give you an overview of my week:
The leadership event I attended is a joint effort by all three synods in the state. It has been going on for 41 years (in some shape), and so has a big history and many traditions and memories. In the current form, you can begin after your freshman year of high school with the beginner's year. It covers leadership basics, Lutheran doctrine, low ropes initiatives, decision making, planning, and all sorts of things in between the celebration/worships and other large group activities. As a new volunteer, I was placed with this group because it is the year with the most structure and would be easier for someone with no previous experience to step into and become engaged. After your beginner year, your next year you move up to the advanced level, followed by the third and fourth level in consecutive years. I had little experience with those levels, so I could not say anything about them, really. The idea, however, is that they build on what was learned the previous years and continue to help the youth grow their gifts. After you have gone through all four levels you qualify for what is called staff in training, and after two years of that, the youth are allowed to come back as volunteer staff. And believe me, they keep coming back. There is also a week for adults to come to the event and participate, after which I think they are considered eligible to be staff, as well. Few people, it seems, come to the event as staff without prior exposure to the event.
When I arrived onto the college campus on Sunday, I was a bit nervous and had no idea what was going on. I was the only volunteer below the age of 35 who had not gone through all four levels of the leadership event as youth, and those who were young enough had also completed both levels of staff in training. There were a few adults who had come to the event later in life, but even they had completed the adult week and all but one had been staff before this past week, too.
I'm trying to remember what is important to write and leave out the things that don't make any difference, but my mind is a bit clouded with fatigue and I feel the weariness deep in my bones. So, for now, I will just list a few of the highlights and leave the potential for expansion.
- 420 young and old people gathered together to learn and serve and worship and pray and play and eat and sleep and live together for a week;
- the dance, where i was truly in my element. I bopped around the dance floor from group to group, having a great time;
- Being able to be around other adults who truly believe that youth ministry is important and vital to the life of the church;
- Bacon for breakfast;
- If the life of the church were to depend on the kids that I met this week, we would be in great shape.
Okay... there was a lot more that happened, more things I'd like to share... I wish I could just hook a cord to my brain and it could translate it all into the blog for you all, but alas there is no such thing. So I will try to come back to the computer at a later date and fill you in with some more details later!!!