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2018 Ski Retreat

"We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength." - Philippians 4:13

While a slight paraphrase of the words that Paul wrote so long ago, they still ring true today. With that thought in mind we set foot on planning a fantastic ski retreat this year. It was our intention to inspire the Headwaters youth to realize that while school and life can be difficult and trying in the pre-teen and teen years, they can have the courage and joy to push through all that. Included in that adventure are the numerous young adults and experienced adults who joined them as staff over the weekend to remind them of this. Most importantly, Christ walks with them in that adventure.

This was our second year at Expeditions Unlimited, and it certainly did not disappoint! We all arrived Friday night from Rockford, Madison, Dubuque, Dodgeville, Rochester, Apple Valley, St. Paul, and Minneapolis and moved into warm cabins before checking in with each other and getting introduced to the weekend. Our main room this weekend was awesome!

We then split into two groups to create team and individual names. Our two groups would become "Baked Potato with Bacon Bits & Butter" and "Flaming Phoenix of the Snow".

The kids then came up with names for themselves that ranged from "Spud" to "The Dragon" to "Hot Dogs and Champions". With that as our icebreaker for the evening we split off to our cabin groups for evening devotions and bed!

Saturday morning breakfast came bright and early, 8:15, by no choice of any of the kids in our group. But we had so much to pack into the day that it worked out nicely! After breakfast we gathered again to talk about the weekend, and to lay the theme for the weekend out better. Our first source of inspiration for the morning, besides the theme Scripture of course, was a video of Shaun White talking about changing his mindset to get back to the Olympic games this year in Pyeongchang. He talks in this video a lot about improving his mindset, sticking to his sport during difficult moments, and having fun again. All things that relate well to our own lives, and even our church lives.

From there it was off to our Jr. High/Sr. High focus sessions. The senior high talked about courage, and used the pie-in-the-face game as part of their practice (I wish I had pictures! Especially when Tiffany got hit with whipped cream!). The junior high attempted milk jug curling and shared for a few moments how church and curling can be similar.

From there it was off to skiing/snowboarding/snow-tubing for the afternoon. I'm happy to report that there were no significant injuries and to the best of my knowledge just about everyone enjoyed the afternoon. It even sounds like many of the snow-tubers may try to ski next year (a win in my book!). It was a good thing that we chose the afternoon for these activities because by the time we got back to camp for dinner it had started to rain (yes, rain in February), and the rain only intensified through the evening. Then we finished our night with a campfire and the movie Cool Runnings.

Sunday morning we had our Faux-lympic games consisting of Biathalon, Slopestyle, Curling, and Skeleton. Scroll over the images for a description of each.

Finally, we wrapped up the day with an incredible worship time focused on the strength and value we have in community with each other and with Christ. We talked about finding our purpose in life and used the story of Esther from the Old Testament as an example. Then while the song "I Am Mountain" by Gungor played we took the time to write "I am..." statements and shared them on a picture of a mountain with the cross above it.

These kids in the Headwaters Mission Center, and the staff who joined them over the weekend are incredible examples of the presence of Christ in our midst. We look forward to seeing each one again at future camps and retreats.

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