New Beginnings 2014, day 1

After everyone *finally* arrived on Friday night we could start New Beginnings! (Due to some bad traffic, we started a little bit later than originally planned.) We played games until we were all here. Everyone got a t-shirt when they checked in with our “word” for the weekend on it: Episcopalectric!

We welcomed everyone, introduced the adults and youth staff, and explained the rules and everyone signed a large version of the community covenant.  Students have two different opportunities to share during the weekend, either in their “family groups” or during “open mic time” when they can share with the whole group. Both of these occur frequently in the schedule. We introduced the “Love Chain” … a paper chain of our prayers that we will work on throughout the weekend.

Then we divided all of the students into their family groups, which are small groups of similarly aged students led by adults and high school students. The groups all have to come up with names for their families, this year we have the Power Puff Peeps, #Selfie (male group), #Jesus, #Selfie (female group), The Lighting Bugs, The Fantastic Hedgehogs, and the Queens of Derps. At some point in here we had a healthy snack of apple slices, pretzels, grapes, and goldfish.

The youth rectors shared how we often hide our true selves and wear different faces (or masks) in different situations. In small groups we discussed why we might do that, what some of the different masks we wear are and where we wear them, and when that might be a good thing and when that might be a bad thing. We closed the evening with Compline and the rectors read students a bedtime story.

This morning we didn’t have to wake up until 7:30! We opened the day as all days should begin with dancing! We had a delicious breakfast of mini-egg-casserole, cinnamon rolls, pineapple and cuties, cereal, and orange juice. Then we sang songs! Kayleigh and Scarlet talked to us about friends and friendship and how to tell who are real friends are. We talked in our groups about what we look for in our friends and how we came to know our best friends.

Then we found out there’s going to be a talent show tonight! Each family group needs to do a skit, and everyone else has the option to sign-up for two additional time-slots (either solo or in groups). Daniel and Luke are going to MC the talent show and they are ready!

We met Rickie, who’s eternal flame of friendship was sadly, extinguished. (Rickie is a recurring character in the skits we see throughout the weekend.) Ian and Millie talked to us about Peer Pressure, then we discussed in our small groups what pressures we feel in our lives. We sang songs and then it was time for lunch! We had soft tacos, chips, salsa, guacamole, cuties and we got to choose from 5 different kinds of cupcakes!

After lunch, we had an hour of rest/quiet time. After an amazing skit of two sisters fighting over clothing, we heard from four students about their relationship with their siblings. Trevor, whose younger sister was in the room said, “I hope I can be your friend given by nature.” In our small groups we talked about times we are close to our siblings and times when we have difficulties with our siblings. Then we heard from Diane Kruger and Earl Mahan about being a parent, sharing a house with so many different personalities, and doing their best (even if they still mess up sometimes). Students talked in their small groups about times they feel loved and times they feel unloved by their parents. Also, they shared a time when they felt God’s love in their family.

Then we all went outside in the beautiful weather for the PEEPS OLYMPICS! We had “Hunger Peeps” (shooting suction cup arrows at peeps stuck in lattice), Peeps Quidditch (throwing peeps through standing rings), Finding Peeps (hide and seek where teams had to find a person wearing a peep costume who hid on the church grounds somewhere), Peeps Dodgeball, and Tricycle Racing Peeps (riding a tricycle through peep obstacles).

After the Olympics we had a healthy snack of goldfish, pretzels, grapes, cuties, and cheese puffs (okay, sort of healthy). Then we sang songs and the “Prayer Care and Share” team acted out a story of unconditional love called “The Wemmicks.” In small groups, students shared a time when they felt like they received a “Gold Star” and when they felt like they received a “grey dot” (images from the story).

There’s been lots of learning, lots of discussion, fun skits and lots of fun! We pray after every talk and sing as often as we can. Tonight is the Talent Show and a movie (time permitting!).

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