So, we have some high school students who have expressed an interest in going away to a church retreat. That’s great: these kinds of events are not only a nice, safe time away from parents and home. They can be really fun– meeting kids from different places. (The internet has made it much easier, in the years since Michael started attending this event for the kids to stay in touch even after they go back home.) These sorts of retreats are also important for young people’s faith formation — as they find a bit more room to figure out for themselves what they believe (and what they don’t).
So, it’s a great thing if Old First can send our kids off to one of these weekend retreats. Our only trouble was scheduling. We missed the Penn SE’s. We were invited to join the youth of the Penn NE Conference at their retreat, but were too late for registration.
But Michael heard we have at least 3 or 4 students who say they want to go. So he contacted the organizers of the New York Conference’s “State Youth Event.” It happens at the beginning of each March at Watson Homestead in Painted Post, in NY State’s southern tier (about an hour west of Binghamton). Over the years, Michael has spent more weekends with more kids than he cares to remember. (Thinking of all this, it’s occurred to him that the kids stay the same age, but the advisors just keep getting older… this event has a very loyal group of adult advisors year after year.)
The NY State Youth Event can be as big as 300 kids from UCC congregations from the Orient on the tip of Long Island, all the way up to the Canadian border above the Adirondacks and out west as far as Niagara Falls. Michael was always on the bus with kids from NY City that often snaked through Queens and Brooklyn, Manhattan and even Westchester before actually getting on the highway. It was often a 6 or 7 hour trip. (Oddly, we in Philly are closer than some people in NYConference.)
It begins on Friday, March 8 at 5 p.m. so participants need to miss school that day and leave in time to arrive by late afternoon. It’s a long enough drive too, that there’s usually the need to stop for a meal along the way. Weather has also been known to slow things down!
It’s then a packed weekend of meals, workshops, family groups, worship, a dance, and down time for sitting around talking or recreation (there’s a pool, and if the snow cooperates, horse-drawn carriage rides). The days are long and the nights too short (or maybe that’s Michael’s adult perspective!)
It’s also about the time the maple syrup starts running, so sometimes there’s buckets to be emptied… People will pack up on Sunday after worship, then grab lunch at Watson Homestead before heading back home.
Since Michael and Billi are both going to be away more than around for the first few weeks of February, we wanted to get information out as soon as possible. Here is the website info. the NYConference has put up. (We also need to draft an adult to chaperone and drive!)
But we can finish sharing information and get everyone who wants to go go registered once Michael gets back on Ash Wednesday.
If you or your child is interested in going, or if you’d be willing to drive and chaperone, please leave word with Mindy in the church office.
he wanted to get information