Big God, Not Big Bang, Big Hit With Teens
The last weekend in January, nearly 200 teen Pathfinders and their staff descended on Camp MiVoden in Hayden, Idaho, for a fun-filled weekend known as Pathfinder Teen Retreat. Teens came from all over Upper Columbia Conference, with some even attending from Montana. New faces intermingled with old, as new friendships were kindled, and old friendships were renewed.
This year’s speaker, Stan Hudson, North Pacific Union Conference Creation Study Center director, came to the retreat with the intention “to encourage young people to leave with a stronger faith in God and the biblical account.” Teens listened attentively as he delved into topics such as dinosaurs and the Bible, carbon dating, Darwin and evolution, creation and the flood, and the fossil record, all the while providing great evidence for a creationist viewpoint. According to Hudson, our worldview depends on the glasses through which we are looking.
The worship talks this year held the full attention of six-year staff attendee Darlene Bitton. “I really enjoyed the speaker," she says. "I was able to come away with more information about creation, along with clarified information about the behemoth spoken of in the book of Job.”
God’s timing was perfect for Carly Haeger, Brewster (Wash.) Blazers Pathfinder, who will be studying evolution in her schoolwork later on this year. “I got a lot of examples of proof that God did create the world, proof that the flood did happen and proof that God does care about us," she says. "I felt myself growing closer to God and to everyone else who attended.”
Andrew Silas, a first-time staff attendee from the Deer Park (Wash.) Mountaineers, was delighted to have his Pathfinders there to learn more about God. He too appreciated the worship talks, stating, “I really enjoyed the lectures on creation. I am inspired to go and do more studies on the creation story so I can share with others."
Sabbath morning, teens were split into groups of eight or more and sent on a scavenger hunt, dubbed "The Amazing Race," all over lower Camp MiVoden. The objective was to complete team-building challenges while learning more about dinosaurs and creation. Participants were surprised at how simple yet difficult the tasks were.
In the afternoon, teens spent time turning old sweaters into useful items for those less fortunate. In total, 13 sets of mittens, 85 hats, 84 scarves and 20 waterproof backpack covers were created and donated to local homeless shelters.
Throughout the weekend, Jam Time provided an opportunity for those musically inclined to come together and make beautiful music. Teens and staff brought guitars, a ukulele, a flute and their voices and had a wonderful time jamming together.
A new addition by request of previous attendees was the "Lounge." Here teens found a cozy place to play board games and ping-pong and to hang out. Shaylee McConnel, Hayden Lake (Idaho) Ponderosa Pathfinder, says, “My favorite part about Teen Retreat was being able to hang out with friends.” The Lounge provided the perfect place to do so.
Overall, this year’s Teen Retreat was a fun, educational and spiritual time for all in attendance. Noah Wenburg, Hermiston (Ore.) Pathfinder, fittingly summed it up when he said, “I really enjoyed the speaker. I found my faith strengthened through his talks, and I learned a lot of new things.”
Megan McCormick, Deer Park Mountaineers Pathfinder