From October 21-23, 2011 our youth went on a retreat at Spring Hill Retreat Center in Richardson, TX. Below is a letter that one of our youth, Taylor Hamilton presented recapping their experience.
As we rolled up the gravel drive, my brother and I surveyed the place where the youth retreat was to be held that weekend. Springhill lodge was prettier than I had imagined, with its quiet woods, broad lawns and peaceful stream. The place possessed two buildings in which we conducted most of our activities – the lodge itself and a small chapel behind. The lodge was very serene and captivating. It was old, well-kept cabin with a spacious common area, a large porch and comfortable sleeping quarters.
I was impatient for everyone to arrive so we could go explore the surrounding woods. We had never been on a youth retreat with our Sabbath school friends from Richardson SDA Church before, and we looked forward to having time to connect with Adventist youth our age on our own spiritual level, without significant adult input.
After most of us youth arrived, we opened the Sabbath with a worship service in which we shared in song, praise, and prayer. We were blessed to have guest speaker Marlon May talk with us Friday night and Saturday about the importance of allowing Jesus and the Sabbath to have a special meaning in our lives.
We enjoyed outdoor games, bible trivia, a bonfire, and a meaningful vespers toward Sabbath evening. Throughout the whole trip we were provided with great meals by some of the chaperones and other women of the church. I believe many of my fellow youth will agree that there can never be too much food at a youth retreat.
However, the true importance of this event is tied up in our individual experiences, and we all came to Springhill with different expectations. In order for you to understand how much we all enjoyed this opportunity for communal youth fellowship I must share with you the opinions of my friends:
“When I first saw the lodge I was skeptical, but the more I looked around the better Iliked it. It was really nice too.” – Chelsea
“When I first drove up to the lodge, I was like ‘Oh my gosh! This sooo cute!’ I love this place. It’s just so beautiful and surrounded by nature. I would definitely come here again.” – Marlea
“Well it [the retreat] was fun. Much better than I thought it would be. It’s funny how wecome to church events, expecting them to be boring, but this was great.” – Jordan
“I was honestly surprised when we arrived, the lodge was really big and cozy, not at allwhat I was expecting. All the youth were running around and the atmosphere wasbuzzing with infectious excitement. It was impossible not to join in!” – Whitney
“My favorite thing about the retreat would be hanging out with friends longer than usualand having God on my mind for the whole weekend, not just Saturday. Spending time together and having the opportunity to become closer to people, as well as Christ, is a very god feeling to have.” – Kaylie
“My favorite thing about the retreat was that we got to ‘live’ together. We got to hang out, talk, have fun. Another great thing about this retreat was that the speaker was Marlon May! He’s amazing; he just really knows what to say and how to speak to our age group.” – Brooke
“My favorite thing about this retreat was spending time with friends and family. Getting closer to each. Learning new things about God.” – Khari
“My favorite thing is that we get to be together the whole time: eat together, sleep together, live together. I love living together like one big, happy family. I think that there’s going to be a bonfire tonight and I’m super-excited!” – Felicia
“One of my favorite facets of this experience has been to engage in a sense ofcommunal worship with fellow youth. There is a near tangible environment of worship…when we youth are congregated together. The worship was interactive, personal and enjoyable. I love hanging with my friends in a relaxed Christ-centered place.” – Conrad
“Honestly, I’ve learned tons of things about myself. I know I have been really distantfrom God ever since I started high school. I hope that being here [at the retreat] maybe God can change me.” – Hillary
“My best memory overall so far was seeing the nature and chilling and fellowshipping with fellow Christians.” – Brandon
“OMG, I will take away so much stuff from this retreat. So many I can’t say them all. Well one is that I have gotten closer to some of the young people and have been able toconnect with God on a different level.” – Rachel
And so went the youth retreat at the Springhill Retreat Center in Richardson on the weekend of October 22, 2011. We would just like our church family to know that we young people really appreciated the time, effort and money spent on our emotional and spiritual growth throughout this worship opportunity, and we wouldn’t mind another chance to participate in another event similar to this experience.
Representing the new generation of Adventists,