As a newcomer to Covenant Pines Bible Camp, I’ve heard a lot of talk about our MEA retreat. A lot of people—campers and former summer staff alike—look forward to it as a weekend to enjoy camp once more before winter hits. Many who love CPBC described MEA to me as one of the best retreats we do here at camp. So naturally, there was a lot of anticipation built up for this new program director in her first MEA retreat. And man, it didn’t disappoint.
As just over 100 junior high campers made their way off the busses here in McGregor, my heart was full of a lot of things.
Full of excitement as I so love fall retreats and youth retreats together. These retreats provide an awesome opportunity for youth groups to build community and deepen relationships as they begin their journey through a new year together.
Full of nerves as this was my first experience as the program director at a CPBC youth retreat.
But mostly, full of anticipation for all that I knew God had in store for these two retreats over the extended MEA weekend. Both Junior and Senior High MEA were filled with much laughter, warm hot chocolate and coffee beverages, good conversations, and many games. A highlight of our programming revolved around pumpkins—we launched some full sized pumpkins with a giant trebuchet that some of the staff built and we also played a classic Covenant Pines favorite “whip n’ strip” with pumpkins. The unseasonably warm October weather lent itself to lots of hanging out in the sunshine and enjoying the beautiful creation that God provided. Our speaker for the long weekend was Rebekah Strobel, a youth pastor at Selah Covenant Church in Washington state. She told many stories and spoke about following God “Into the Wild” of our lives. She called campers to live into their identity as images of God, and to have enough faith to “get out of the boat” as Peter did with Jesus.
The MEA retreat is really all things summer camp rolled into a couple of days for each age group. And as I was standing on the steps leading up to Oak Ridge while the Senior High campers played pumpkin whip n’ strip, my heart was so full. I was reminded in that moment that God shows up in every aspect of camp. He shows up in games, worship, conversations, everything. I was reminded of what a privilege it is to get to watch campers love camp and experience God in this place month after month and, hopefully, year after year.
I’m grateful for our youth pastors who chose to take their MEA weekend and partner with us as counselors with their students. I’m grateful for our former summer staffers who jumped in to help out camp and the new program director they hadn’t even met yet. I’m grateful for the people who pray for us often. We can feel those prayers. And I’m grateful for camp; a place where kids and adults alike can experience God in so many different ways. I look forward to many more MEA retreats to come—join us next year!