Rebellious ducks, or something like that

Continuing the medical theme from summer camp, enter the 2012 4th and 5th grade winter retreat held right at our church.  The older kids get to go all the way to the camp in Michigan for two days, but as a cost-saving measure for the parents I am sure, this crowd gets one night with no travel necessary outside of being brought to church.  That suits me just fine and allows more to come who otherwise would not.  I know of one family for sure whose junior-higher wasn’t going to be able to go to his retreat though his younger brother was at ours.

I arrived Friday night just a smidgen late and check-in was well underway.  In fact, most of my cabin was already settled in and watching the opening movie which entertained them while waiting for the official start.  I joined my colleagues upstairs and helped settle in the stragglers.  Did I mention that Friday was the day of a major snowstorm?  After driving on snow-packed roads from Algonquin to Elgin and back home, I and a hundred moms, dads, and other leaders slogged down the roads to make this event, the only one not canceled.  But I am sure parents would brave even more to be rid of their young-uns give their brood an opportunity to draw closer to our Lord and Savior.  Though there was one cabin that had several boys missing by the time the main event started, mine was complete (at least it was by dinner time when the last trooper arrived).  I even had a couple of repeat campers from summer, one of which I hadn’t seen since then as he attended the church’s school, but not regular church on the weekends- at least the one I serve at.  Even my junior leader was the same.  Yep, Mad Cow Disease was represented in full.  What?  Oh, yes.  Remember the medical theme I mentioned?  Well, all the cabins were named after diseases and cures.  Most girls would never go for a cabin labeled SARS or mad cow disease, so they naturally got the cures while the boys proudly represented their diseases.

Once the movie was shut off in the middle (sorry for those who may not have seen it before…) and rules had been gone over, it was time to get into things with a game of course.  That game was Duck Hunt.

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No, no, no, not THAT Duck Hunt.  This was a game where the kids hunted for little rubber ducks invading the church.  By little, I mean they were only about two square inches in size each meaning not that easy to find.  But there were several hundred of them.  All through, well not the church this year though that was the original intent.  Thanks to the fresh snow, the venue was changed and the ducks were strewn all over the parking lot instead.  Think a hundred kids mining for ducks in the still-falling snow.  They had to find the ducks and bring them back to their team buckets.  Sounds tedious?  Well, add in dodgeballs thrown by zealous leaders (they had to drop any ducks they were carrying if hit, to be thrown by the leader to be buried once again, waiting on another miner) and it made for a fun time.  There were also big balls the teams had to get to their buckets for big points.

The game eventually had to end and we went in for pizza and then our first session.  As per the norm, we started off with an up-front game (we lost- I don’t think we won any of the up-front games in fact) then moved into a couple worship songs before getting into the teaching.  The theme this year was Jonah, session one was about rebellion.  As many know, Jonah rebelled against God in chapter one, not only refusing to do what Got told him, but actively going the opposite way, as far away from his responsibility as possible.  The session ended with Jonah being thrown overboard for being the cause of the storm God sent.  All sessions ended in small group time, so we went back to our cabins to discuss the application to their own lives.

Lights out and the kids were asleep instantly dreaming of peaceful things like rainbows and unicorns.  Yeah, in your dre- hey, wait a minute…  I remember a winter retreat where a couple kids ran up and down the length of the building we were in all night (or much of it).  Things weren’t that bad but we still had talking, fake flatulence, complaints about the talking and the fake flatulence…  I had to get up more than once and just stand over someone to deter further noise.  I did sleep fairly well once I nodded off, at least until 6AM, but I’ll save that for the next post.  It’s getting late.  Talking of sleeping is making me want to be there…


New addition to family

Silver 2009 Elantra GLS
note: representative photo only


What?? Hey, I’m not married- if I want to call this a family addition then… 😛

It’s too dark out to take a real photo, but this it what it looks like.  Finally a car- a 2009 Hyundai Elantra.  The bad news?  Insurance is about 50% more for this than for my Metro.  Oh, well.

Coming soon: last weekend’s event when I am not so tired.  Have to be up early tomorrow too…

3rd Time’s a Charm

Or three strikes and you’re out, but I prefer the title saying better.  It is midway through the year of my third stint at being an AWANA leader.  Some time ago, when I was still subbing, I was asked by family to break off a bit from the kids.  After all, I was doing drama and serving in 4th and 5th grade on the weekends then working all week in K-8 classrooms.  Not wanting to get rid of the weekend service, I dropped AWANA after the year was over.

This year things have been a little different but very much the same.  Originally, 3rd-4th grade were known as Pals (boys) and Chums (girls) while 5th (normally 6th too, but at our church 6th grade is junior high and they don’t do AWANA) were known as Pioneers (boys) and Guards (girls).  I believe it was during time #2 that the switch was made to T in T: Truth in Training for all three grades, boys and girls.  One year I worked with Sparks (K-2) but the rest of the time has been with 3rd-5th grade.  Would you believe the kindergarten Sparkies from that year are in 8th grade now?  Time does fly.  Other differences this year include keeping points for my team- kind of a pain with over 15 boys, mostly 3rd and 4th grade though I do have one or two 5th-graders- and game time is no longer the normal circle games, though at the beginning of the year we did do them.  Now we switch off between double-kickball (two balls, two kickers, one set of bases) and dodge-ball.

Last night was crazy hat night.  Every week has some sort of theme with varying levels of participation- last week was ugly sweater night and few participated.  Wristwatch night also seemed to be on the light side.  Hat night must have been easier as there was much participation.  Conservative, childless me didn’t have a hat anywhere near crazy status and I didn’t have time to think about it anyway since I arrived home from work after six and had to be at the church at 6:30.  There were of course Dr. Seuss hats among the fare, a mohawk hat, a creative lad wearing two Civil War hats representing both Union and Confederate sides, and another one wearing stacked baseball hats.  I am slightly chuffed to say the winner came from my own team, though of course I had nothing to do with it myself.  Cole wore the same hat he always wears to AWANA- he usually leaves it on all night except for prayer- but over that he had on a full Air Force pilot helmet, meaning not just the helmet but the breathing apparatus as well.  Technically not a hat, but it did go on  the head, so…  He informed me one of his relatives was in the Air Force.  If he went to this church on the weekend (he attends a different church- he came as another’s friend one week and signed up after that) he would fit right in at camp this summer and the winter retreat the following January- next year will be the military theme once again.

Anyway, speaking of winter retreat, *this* year’s retreat is tomorrow night and it is now after 11PM.  Time to hit the sack so I will have at least some rest for it.  And perhaps a blog post afterward.  Please pray for us this weekend- 24 hours from Friday 7PM to Saturday 7PM.

Breaking the silence

Well, sort of.  Also a celebration that my blog is working again!  Anyway, just a video I laughed to today- apparently crows like winter sports too…

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