This past weekend Sky Ranch had the opportunity to be apart of the middle school youth gathering in Colorado Springs.  It was a weekend based around the theme “Let’s Eat” and a reading from Ezekial 3: 3: “’Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.’  So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.”  Over 700 middle schoolers participated in a weekend where they dove into what it means to “fearlessly live the life God intended them to live.”

Friday kicked off the weekend with Peter Gonia (a Sky Ranch alum) talking about his journey to Chico, California where he serves as a youth director and organic farmer followed by a Q & A with his father, Bishop Jim Gonia.  On Saturday, youth groups had the opportunity to attend break out sessions and serve in the Colorado Springs community.  These service projects ranged from building  to sorting clothes.  More than 700 people put their faith into action through community service and made a huge impact on the Colorado Springs community.  At large group that evening they shared some of their experiences.  Lauren Seyfarth, another Sky Ranch alum also shared her experiences of serving and discovering her vocation.  The youth again had a chance to ask questions and were curious about her experiences in Haiti to if she likes pumpkin pie.

Gatherings like these give us the opportunity to work with our sister camp Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp in southern Colorado.  This gathering was a great opportunity to work with one another, catch up, share stories and do what both camps do best.  Together we put on six sessions of Team Building for the youth including activities like the human knot and a blindfolded obstacle course.   These activities were meant to not only challenge the youth but really get them thinking about the gifts God has given them and what they might be called to do, what their vocation might be.

At times it’s difficult to pay attention to what God is calling us to do.  Distractions of what success really means, feeling too overwhelmed to make a difference, or being embarrassed to share our gifts are things we all struggle with.  My hope is that throughout this weekend the youth were able to find that they have a community there to back them up.  They have people who want them to succeed, who are willing to push them but without judgment.  My wish is that they will fearlessly show their gifts and the incredible value they bring to the world and their community.  There will always be road-blocks and rivers to cross but as Romans 5 tells us “suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character and character produces hope.”  We may not see what’s ahead but that’s the beautiful mystery of faith.