Monday, October 25, 2010

Top Ten Things about a Junior High Retreat

Call me crazy, but I love junior high kids.

I know, right?! Crazy.

Oh, I love other kinds of kids, too—those of the high school and college-aged-young-adult variety—but there’s something just so, well, funny about junior high kids.

All that angst. All that energy. All that hair.

So, you’d think I would have laughed my weekend away this past weekend. And I pretty much did. Those junior highers totally cracked me up.

Oh, I didn’t mention my weekend plans? Don’t be jealous, but I went on a retreat. With 80 junior high kids.

It was a party, my friends. A Party in the U.S.A. if there ever was one.

Top Ten Things About a Junior High Retreat

1. Earth ball Soccer. Hysterical! Bodies flying. Cheers erupting. And one leader-who-shall-remain-nameless with a black eye. The game is brutal, folks. Brutal, I’m telling you!

2. Shaving Cream Wars. Picture 90 people on a field, each with a can of shaving cream. And they just go for it. In the end the field looked like the Creature from the Black Lagoon threw up everywhere, but at least the camp smelled clean.

3. Rope Bridge. A perennial favorite. And what could be better than rope burns, leeches, and a swamp?

4. Canoeing. For the more mellow among us who want to build up our upper bodies by rowing against the wind for four miles. Just a walk in the park. Or a row down the river.

5. Get-to-know-you games. Quick! Line up and put yourselves into alphabetical order by your mother’s maiden name! Now line up in order of your favorite teacher’s birthdate! And now get into alphabetical order by your pet’s name! Quick!

6. Pranking. Pretty much my favorite part of retreats. Just ask the girls in my group. I was all about the pranking, oh yeah. All about it. I think my favorite prank was the one where I got in my sleeping bag and pretended to go to sleep. The prank was that I wasn’t pretending, but don’t tell the girls.

7. Wet socks. These all-important camp accessories are not only comfortable, but they also make your room smell great. Especially when twelve girls all have wet socks—your room smells so sweet.

8. Ooga Booga. This is a game that one of our youth pastors made up about 15 years ago. It’s a rite of passage for the 7th graders new to the youth group and is truly one of the highlights of the weekend. I’d explain the game to you, but it’s a huge secret, so if I told you, I’d have to kill you.

9. Watching girls flirt with boys and boys flirt with girls. And they thought we wouldn’t notice. Bwahahaha.

10. Underground church. A super-cool game we always play that’s not only fun, but educational too. Because we all know junior high kids are looking for that educational piece in their games. But the best part? It’s played outside. In the dark. (See number 9.) Kids running away from the secret police as they try to smuggle Bibles to the persecuted church.

Just your regular Saturday night in the suburbs.

So there. A few glimpses into our weekend at camp.

Oh yeah. And there was a speaker too. Trust me, he was good. He taught about the Prodigal Son story. The kids liked him so much that they t.p.-ed his car. Like, completely. Not a single bit of the car could be seen.

Not that I’d notice a prank or anything.

All-in-all it was a good weekend. Tiring, of course, because I’m old, but good. And one of the best parts was that the kids got to see God in action this weekend. Big time. It was supposed to rain all weekend. No kidding. We were all talking about it on Friday before we left, wondering how we’d get to play Underground Church if it rained. But, aside from a few sprinkles on Saturday morning, not a drop of rain fell from the sky.

Until, that is, the drive home.

He’s good, you guys. All the time. Even in the small things.

He’s good.

I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday at Oh, Amanda! Head on over there for some more great top ten lists.



  1. I'm going to be part of a jr high retreat this weekend. I'm not staying over, but I'm bringing breakfast and hanging out on Saturday. I have really been enjoying working with our youth group! It is a neat age, after all. Who knew!?

  2. Please tell me that someone needed to be taken to the emergency room or I will be disappointed. That ALWAYS happened at our junior high retreats when I went along to help.

    And I like the underground church game. We play one that is called Night Strike because the kids played it at camp years ago and loved it. But I like the idea of smuggling Bibles so much better.

  3. Aw, Jo-Lynne, you're really missing out if you don't stay all night. Missing out on all that sleep, that is. ;)

    Linda, it's a good thing nobody had to go to the ER. We were in the middle of nowhere--a place you probably know between Sandwich and Newark. No ER for MILES!!

  4. are awesome!!! I love Jr. Highers, too. I miss their goofiness. My husband was a youth pastor for a looong time, so I know retreats with this age group.

    My favorite comment of all time was said after a very long and tiring retreat weekend: We were all waiting for the parents to pick up the kids amidst piles of pillows and sleeping bags when a 7th grade girl turned to me and said, "Don't you wish we could live together like this all the time?" This comment is funniest in the context of how tired I was as a leader of the group...hahaha.

  5. Oh Bev, that IS funny. I bet you wanted to throw her into her dad's car and run as fast as you could!

  6. That picture of your youngest is so great - love it!

  7. What fun you guys had. Looks like a bunch of great parents were involved in making it a great time for all the kids.