The Volunteer Perspective
“Seeing how welcoming and friendly the students are gives me a little reminder to do the same” says Meryn, who traveled all the way from Michigan with the Hope College team to volunteer at BCM’s Teen Retreat. Meryn is junior majoring in Social Work at Hope and became familiar with BCM through Jordan Dennen, a current BCM staff member and Hope College alumna. Meryn also volunteered with BCM last year and was so happy with her experience that she not only decided to return as a leader but also bring some friends along. As Meryn reflected on her experience as a volunteer, she spoke about how many of the students were so willing to open up and be honest about the struggles they face.
The Middle School Student Perspective
“God sacrificed himself for us and now we have someone to talk to through prayer” said Cristina as she discussed what she learned through a ‘relationship with God’ themed session at the Teen Retreat. There was another session that explained the purpose of animal sacrifices in biblical times by giving each student toy animals and for every type of sin committed one toy animal was taken away or sacrificed. “I realized how many sins we have yet God came down to save us because he loves us” said Nathan as he explained what he learned through this exercise.
The High School Student Perspective
A student named Kassandra mentioned in small group conversation at the retreat “how God is there for you but shows himself in different forms.” She went on to discuss how the students were given the opportunity to write personal letters, paint and draw and how those are all types of worship which she said made her feel “more connected” to God. “In order to talk to God, he doesn’t have to physically respond, he can speak through people and art,” said V, as she recalled that significant realization she obtained from the retreat.
The Retreat Festivities
The Teen Retreat is full of fun and Bible-based activities. Each day of the weekend long retreat is packed with different team building activities, small groups and Biblical sessions. Students form teams with team names such as Pink Pomegranate Panthers and The Flash and compete head-to-head earning points in each activity in an effort to be the reigning champions. Students are also taken to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for a fun day of rides, carnival treats and a bonfire. It is very encouraging to hear such positive feedback from not only our students but also volunteers and staff because it validates BCM’s mission to share fun activities, community and God’s love with our students.
Students break up into several teams and work on their team name and sign.
Students learn about the purpose of animal sacrifices in Biblical times.
Students, volunteers and staff pose for a picture at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.