Last weekend’s retreat was at a YMCA camp north of the city. Most of our programming was camp programming, run by camp staff: team challenges, high ropes, climbing walls, scavenger hunts. It was perfect for the kind of retreat we were running, because some of the students were from the congregation, but many others were not, and practically none of them knew one another before the weekend.
It was also perfect because the YMCA is really good at recreation. I had planned to do some team building challenges of my own over the weekend, but after an hour with the camp staff I gave that up. They did the activities I had in mind but better, with better equipment and instructions from an expansive written guide.
I made no secret of my interest in that guide, and one of the staff disappeared into the office for a few minutes and returned with one in hand. “Here you go,” he said.
Here’s the last thing that was perfect about being at a YMCA camp, especially for a church youth retreat. The staff are all young adults, and some of them are college interns from places our students have never been, like Texas and Memphis. There are international flags hanging in the dining room representing all the countries that have sent staff to the camp. Being at this camp reminded me of my brief tenure with the Y after college and how international and young the organization is at its core. It’s a perfect partner for churches.