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Chaperoning at a church retreat…

May 3, 2011

This past weekend I helped chaperone 5 youth from our church on a confirmation retreat to Lake Junaluska, NC.  My son, Parker was part of this group.  It was put on by a group affiliated with Pfieffer University here in NC, and was overall one of the best run conferences of any type that I have been to.  I figured about 150 youth and assorted adults attended.  Youth were all in the 12-14 year old range, with a few 11 and 15 year olds thrown in for good measure.

It was a pretty intense schedule of activities, all centered on expanding on lessons learned in the Confirmation Classes that are part of being in the Methodist Church.  I had no idea what to expect, so I will admit I was a tad nervous.  Interestingly, I was accompanied by two people that I had grown up with in the same church, and one has a child in the same confirmation class!  That was a great comfort, and the 4 of us adults were able to really be involved with the program.

Those of you that know me well, know that I typically do not post blogs or Facebook, or Tweets about my personal religious leanings, and this will be no exception.  If you really want to know what I think, ask me in person, over coffee or beers. I’ll even buy the first round.

What I want to talk about is how this program put ideas out there for thought and exploration.  I saw kids get engaged.  The lightbulbs of thought flashed.  The youth I had the pleasure of working with in breakout sessions were interested.  They truly wanted to learn.  Many were musicians, athletes, and artists.  All had something to give.

A lot of talk in social media and marketing is centered around the word “engagement”.  I saw it in another form.  I witnessed kids that were in a shell break off a little bit of it as the comfort level with what they were seeing and hearing worked its way in.  Over the course of 2 full days and nights of sessions, kids that obviously were there by suggestion of someone else, opened up and poured out ideas and thoughts.  Became engaged.

What all did I learn?  That cold pint is waiting on us to talk about it.  But I will say this, when ideas and thoughts are given out to be absorbed, and not shoved down your throat, when questions are welcomed, and new ideas from the youngest are just as important as those from the presenter, then success is found. There was no drumbeat of forced dogma, all questions and suggestions were treated with respect.  The individual was just as important as the group.

I came away with more to think about and process, but one thing was blindingly clear to me as I drove down the mountain on I-40.  Our kids are smarter than we give them credit.

 

 

 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Meg permalink
    May 3, 2011 10:15 pm

    I’ll take you up on that cold pint. I want to hear more. Glad it was a great experience.

    • Paul Jones permalink*
      May 4, 2011 9:00 am

      Indeed. Got my lazy brain thinking again. That could be dangerous.

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