|Ski Trip, 2007- at Cracker Barrel|
When I began work on the full-time summer staff of Quaker Lake Camp in June of 1978, I was 18 years old. I was still 18 when I led my first youth group at Centre Friends Meeting. I had no idea that nearly 30 years later I would still be doing youth ministry. But in February of 2007 I was still at it, and on February 19 of that year my group from Trinity UMC of Waycross, GA returned home from a ski trip. In many ways it was just like the hundreds of other youth group trips I had been part of over the many years. In at least one way it was like no other. I didn't know it until a few days later, but it had been my last hurrah in student ministry.
The story of the trip really begins a year earlier when I arrived at TUMC. I wanted to change the culture of the youth ministry to reach out to more students in the community and to make our church "the place to be" in Waycross for middle school and high school students. Part of that plan included more trips and more big adventures. In the summer of 2006 we took a successful mission trip to Chicago with the Center for Student Missions. In September we attended Night of Joy at Walt Disney World. By then, we had already announced the ski trip, and excitement was building. We would go to West Virginia and ski Winterplace the week after Christmas. The Guy with the Bus was going home!
As often happens with youth trips, life got in the way. The church van broke down coming home from a Christmas outing to a Japanese restaurant in Brunswick (an hour away). Repairs would be major, and I was left scrambling to find a rental van for those days after Christmas. In the meantime, there was no snow in West Virginia and it was too warm to make any. Winterplace was not even certain they would be open. At the last second, I called and moved our reservations to President's Day Weekend, 2007. This caused much confusion and chaos, but since it was youth ministry, no one really noticed.
|Let it snow!|
|A VERY young Will Jones ready for the slopes!|
|Meagan & Marilyn in the ski lodge|
Because of Jesus,