Last year at this time, we held our first retreat at Camp Akiva. The chapel was not totally complete nor was all the new buildings for lodging. So this year, with all complete, the teens at Onward & Upward just kept saying the place was amazing and it was so cool for them to have one place that they can always come to for camps and retreats.
We had many new faces, both as counselors and as teens attending the retreat. The new teens quickly adapted to the fact that our volunteers are good people that care for them and do not get paid to spend time with them. Many of the teens were moved each day the band played “No Longer Slaves”. The drama on encouragement also had a big impact on them as they were very attentive and they seemed to care and want to encourage each other.
One of our new volunteers and speaker during our session on Self Discipline had these things to say about the retreat. “As at summer camp, I loved the adults that were serving this weekend. They have been, and continue to be, some of the most loving and caring people I have ever been around. I had the opportunity to see them serve the teens in many ways and could tell the love they have for them.”
Hopefully the teens can begin to fully understand that they are “no longer slaves” to their past and just like the counselors this weekend, there is a loving Father who is always present to encourage and comfort them. It was a great retreat and we cannot wait to meet with this age group next time.