Hellooooo dear readers! Happy Thursday to you!
Quick logistics: CAYG resumes this weekend!
Middle school: Friday, 6:30-8:30pm
High School: Sunday, 6-8:30pm
That’s it for “news,” now on to the fun stuff!!!!
🍩 🍰 🎂 🍪 🍫 🧁 🍨 🥨
It was a BLAST hanging out with so many of you this weekend at our parish retreat in the mountains!
As has become an ongoing problem(?) we leaders were so present in the moment, we scarcely took pictures… and because the youth were so great about keeping their phones out of sight… we do not have many photos to share! But here’s what we DO have!
In keeping with the Parish’s theme, Alex led the youth in a track dedicated to Christ the Good Shepherd.
Pictured: “Alex the Ok Shepherd” explaining to the parish, in a heavy regional accent, what the youth had in store. Fr. Jonathan looks on in amusement, concern, and thinly veiled jealousy.
Friday evening we played many circle games, and celebrated the birthday of one of our own.
Pictured: Us presenting the (store bought) birthday cake with UNLIT candles because the lighter wouldn’t stay on long enough to spark the wicks. NOT pictured: Alex making some birthday joke or pun. Eva’s face says it all. ALSO not pictured: One of our senior boys setting his hair on fire with the same faulty lighter.
At this point I’m sure many of you are naturally wondering “Kelsey! How is it you guys are able to come up with such amazing tracks, lessons, and games??” Well dear readers, Alex employs only the finest creative minds.
Not all of them are winners.
Alternatively, many are fantabulous in their own right, but are then polished to perfection:
By “Think more about the games” Alex meant “Make it about 10x louder, and 4x more violent!!!” Led by returning star, Josh Bennet!
Pictured: A shepherd guiding and guarding two sheep with “The Shield of Something Holy” as they blindly dodge balls and a chair obstacle course that kill them upon contact. Also pictured: Natalie plugging her ears because apparently 40+ youth standing above you in the balcony screaming at the top of their lungs is rather loud. I am cleverly wearing noise canceling headphones.
Throughout Friday and Saturday we had a progression of talks: What it means to be a Sheep (in the biblical sense), what it means to say that Christ is the Good Shepherd, and finally, what it means to repent and be carried home by God. Pictured: Alex leading a poignant talk, the youth divided into flocks, and listening very attentively. And I’m allowed to say this behind his back because I already said it to his face, but Alex’s Saturday evening talk on repentance was one of the better talks I’ve heard him give these 7 years. Ask your youth about it!!
Saturday after lunch many of the high schoolers joined me and Natalie in Jacob’s creek as Ducky Derby Divers, with middle schoolers helping out on the rocks. Pictured: About 10 people questioning their choices in life that brought them to this freezing moment. Not pictured: The cowards who (for some reason) refused to brave the 40 degree currents.
And in the afternoon there was much time for lounging around playing games, doing nails, singing songs, and having meaningful conversations. Note pictured: A different senior high boy who sprained his ankle “running like Captain Jack Sparrow” across a flat field, and consequently being confined to couches and crutches the rest of the weekend.
A high/lowlight was having the official farewell to one of our longest volunteers. 5-year volunteer Natalie will be moving to Nevada in November to be near family. She will depart with former short-term volunteer and current husband Caelin, and their two cats. Saturday we bestowed upon her gift, compliments, hugs, and stories.
On a slightly more personal note, a bit of Laurelville history: Last year youth brought approx. 1 bag of chips per family, and to avoid running out of everything by Saturday lunchtime I had to severely stagger snack output. In an effort to avoid a repeat of last year’s tragedy, this past week I sent out a plea for families to bring much much food, emphasizing that it was impossible to bring too many snacks, and to please see this as a personal challenge. This was the gauntlet:
And boy howdy did you take that challenge.
We’re set for the rest of the year.
All in all, it was a delightful weekend away with so many of you, and we’re so very glad you chose to give up your weekend, your sleep, (and in some cases your homecoming dance!) to be with us!
🍩 🍰 🎂 🍪 🍫 🧁 🍨 🥨
On an even MORE VERY personal note, Friday night as we presented the (generic, some might even say ugly, STORE BOUGHT) cake to the birthday girl, a youth asked if I had made it. Knowing that they had SEEN my work in these blogs, I was more than a little hurt. That dissettlement refused to go away until last night when I whipped up an entirely experimental batch of cupcakes. I offer their photo to you as a gift.
*Eyeroll* “Did you make this one too, Kelsey?” *Psh.*
Ok ok one more, this was made with the alcohol a CAYG family gave me for surviving the Harrisburg trip.
Ok, I feel better now. Thank you for humoring me, dear readers.
Kelsey Nienna ❤