Monday, November 14, 2011

Pilgrimage “Unplugged”

This past weekend, myself and 25 other youth and mentors from church attended a youth conference in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  This conference has over 5000 youth that attend and participate in the conference.  They are bands that play praise and worship music, youth that give awesome testimonies, skits, and videos as well as the key note speakers. This year’s theme was Follow the way, speak the truth, live the life. 

Our youth did an amazing awesome job this weekend.  From getting to the church on time to leave, to following directions and being where they needed to be when I needed them to be there.  They interacted with each other, talked to everyone, and engaged even the shyest youth in conversation.  They were respectful and listened to the speakers and the people pouring their hearts out through testimonies and they stood and danced and sang the praise music.  They did all this and on top of it, they were “unplugged.”

That’s right, our youth did not have their cell phones or I pods at Pilgrimage.  In fact they didn’t have their cell phones at all on the trip.  This is something we started a couple of years ago because cell phones were taking our youth’s attention away from each other and what the lessons we were trying to teach.  They went the whole weekend without being plugged in.  The best part of the scenario is the fact that they noticed the other kids around us and how disrespectful they were to the speakers.  They saw them listening to their I-pods or facebooking while the speaker was speaking.  The thing that got all of us, youth and adults alike, was all the talking that not only other youth did during the speaker’s time, but that adults did as well.  It was interesting to watch.

It is amazing that people spend so much time and money to come to such a wonderful conference and then don’t respect it.  I know that it is wonderful and great that they are there in the first place, but I want my youth to grow spiritually.  There is a time for fun and games.  I love to play and joke around, but I want my youth to learn.  I want them to grow.  I want to know that there are other youth and adults out there in the world that have the same beliefs as them and they are proud to share them with the world.   Our Youth not only paid attention all weekend but also showed their spirituality through a video they put together that was shown to all 5000 youth at the conference.  It was amazing to watch and see them up on the big screen.

I am so proud of them for everything they did this weekend.  It was a great experience and I hope that they got as much out of the conference as I got out of their maturity and actions this weekend.  I know that they get upset at me sometimes because of the cell phone thing,  but I only want what’s best for them, and that  involves them being engaged and respectful of the world around them.  You never know what you might learn, or better yet what you might teach someone else!  Thank you youth group for a fantastic weekend!  You are the best.

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