11 years. 22 retreats.
I remember each and every one like it was yesterday. I remember the countdown on Fridays as I anxiously waited for the bell to ring at the end of the day to usher me out the front doors and into freedom. I remember tossing my bags in the car and rushing to the bus. I remember the anticipation building as the night grew darker and the bus trekked onwards.
And then I remember it all in a series of flashes – like a blur of pure bliss. Music, laughter, friends. I remember running through camp and feeling like I was free – free to roam and dream and finally free to be. It was liberating and exhilerating and I remember feeling like I was coming home. Coming to a place where I was found, accepted and a place I belonged. I remember feeling like this was family. This was where the memories were made, this was where the laughter was found. This was where my heart grew a thousand times over. This is where I found myself – it was here that I recognized who God was calling me to be.
11 years later and I’m no longer that 11 year old girl waiting for the school bell to ring. 11 years later I am the young woman who is eagerly awaiting the moment when hundreds of kids arrive at the front gate. I am the young woman who knows exactly how they feel. Because I’ve been there. 22 times before. And I know what they are on the brink of. They are on the brink of the beginning of everything. It is here that they will dive deeper than they ever have before. It is here that their heart will awaken for the first time. It is here that the journey begins.
From the girl who has been here a few times before – I hope you join me. I promise you it’s beyond your wildest imaginings.