A Retreat Like No Other
New Holland students who are looking forward to attending Winter Blast at Camp Orchard Hill with the Cross Connection Youth Center include (from left) Raymond Figueroa, Angel Sanchez, and Tracey Ortiz. A group of more than 30 is slated to travel to the camp in Dallas, Pa., during the first weekend in March.
By Ann Mead Ash
Sponsorships For Area Youths Sought
Tracey Ortiz of New Holland has many good memories of her 2012 trip to Winter Blast youth retreat, but one thing that motivational speaker Shawn McBride said still stands out in her mind."I remember he said, 'Instead of getting on Facebook, put your face in the book,' meaning the Bible," said Ortiz. "… and stay committed to reading it."
Ortiz is looking forward to returning to Winter Blast again this year, when Cross Connection Youth Center (CCYC) travels to Camp Orchard Hill in Dallas, Pa., on Friday, March 1. The group will return on Sunday, March 3. Executive director Meredith Dahl, who has taken students from The Cross on the retreat for four years, hopes to take as many as 35 local youths to the 2013 event.
This year, Dahl and Chuck Holt, who runs The Factory Youth Center in Paradise, have teamed up for a special weekend tailored to youth centers. The theme will be "Clear the Stage," and the concept will address removing clutter from the students' lives and focusing on meaningful relationships with others and with God. Music ministry Universal Royalty will seek to present the students with the opportunity to understand and experience the full life Christ has promised. Members of the ministry have committed their time and talents to encourage believers by helping them grow closer to Christ. Universal Royalty's music has been described as alternative rock, and the group is known for songs such as "Swing Low" and "Someday Soon" which feature faith-based lyrics.
Not all of the time at the retreat, however, will be spent in worship or listening to speakers. Typical sports activities at Winter Blast include dodgeball, soccer, volleyball, and basketball. Outdoor activities, such as football played in the snow, tubing, sledding, and paintball are also enjoyed. Foosball, pingpong, inflatables, and karaoke are among the popular indoor activities.
Of course, unplanned activities, such as playing harmless pranks on the youth center staff and volunteers, are always popular at retreats as well. "I call that bonding and making good memories," laughed Dahl. Student Raymond Figueroa, who attended the 2012 retreat, said that he enjoyed staying up all night. He also recalled that he enjoyed hearing the worship band. "They made me want to get up and move," he said. Angel Sanchez, who also attended last year, said that he enjoyed the food that the camp is known for.
Dahl noted, though, that the event is not all fun and games. "I also like the camp because they have (the youths) clean up after lunch," she said. "They have to clear the tables."
The retreat is open to youths in grades 9 through 12. "Students have to apply and explain why they want to go," said Dahl, who added that CCYC is seeking sponsors to help students attend. "Sponsors will receive a photo of the group, a prayer request before we leave, and a thank you from the student," said Dahl.
Sponsorships may be provided by individuals, businesses, and organizations. Readers who would like to provide a scholarship may call CCYC at 355-2454. More information about Cross Connection Ministries, which is located at 123 and 127 W. Franklin St., New Holland, may visit www.newhollandcross.org.