Monday, March 09, 2009

CCYC post

because "old bus/awesome worship/frisbee playing/penny surfing" just didn't have the same ring to it.

this past weekend, i traveled to raleigh with 18 youth and 6 other adults for the high school carolina youth conference. it was held in the raleigh city center marriott, with over 400 youth attending. a small crowd for this conference, but the events went incredibly well and they hope to increase attendance for next year.

we left for raleigh on friday afternoon and had originally planned to carpool in a 15 passenger van and several other cars. to our surprise, the deal had gone through on the bus they'd been looking at for the past couple of weeks. they bought it off a church in morganton, nc, who had orginally purchased it for their senior citizens but complained that it "rode too much like a bus."

the upholstery is straight out of the early 80's, and the engine was a "touch and go" situation through out the weekend. i think she needs a good tune-up. we deemed her "big bertha" and i enjoyed using the loud speaker to give impromtu tours of downtown raleigh.

as we pulled into the parking lot by the hotel, though, it was obvious we had come in the wrong way.
yes, that is an orange traffic cone lodged in by the tire.
we got settled in our rooms and caught up with the other group members that had come up the day before or drove separately from the bus. then it was time for the first session, where we were introduced to the weekend's theme--it's time. time to wake up, time to grow up, time to focus on their spiritual life and their relationship with God.
our group managed to snag front row seats, which we used to our advantage to warm up the crowd with lots of high fives and starting 'the wave.' then it was time for the band. (featured in the polaroid at the top) the daniel dabney band is from louisville, kentucky, and had some familiar songs as well as some new ones that they've written themselves.

i also thought they had the most entertaining drummer. he was so into it!

and there's just nothing like worshipping with a huge room of teenagers and youth sponsors. the energy is incredible!
the speaker, arron chambers, was also incredible. he had a distinct style that got his point across and explained things in easy-to-understand terms for our youth. and when he really was getting into it, he got loud! maybe more so for us because of the whole front row thing, but i was wishing for ear plugs (and feeling old!)

after most sessions, we had youth group time where the ministers and youth leaders were encouraged to further discuss the topics of the session with their groups. we claimed the space right outside of the hotel. surrounded by the city skyline and white lights in the trees on the sidewalk, it was a great spot to circle around and have some in-depth conversations.
(let me add here that this is my only picture with lynn, but mainly cause she was always shooting with their d40 as well! and she's one of the most fun people to sit by, because she has a fabulous sense of humor and is also a people-watcher. i had the best time with her and emelie this weekend--as well as the guys!)

our first night went late, with a huge game of mafia in one of the hotel rooms. now i will admit, this one took me back. i remember playing games of mafia in the band room, killing time before football games or when we finished class early. it came back quickly, and we were up until almost 1 a.m. playing a couple of games with almost 20 people.

we were back up and off to get some breakfast at port city java, where i was able to get free wi-fi. the hotel, though incredibly nice, was also expensive and did not offer lots of free amenities. i did well throughout the weekend, without coming back to check again. i just had to keep up with jonah :)

after the morning session, we all headed out to the park where we would eat lunch and enjoy field day activities for the rest of the afternoon. we piled back on the bus and were treated to some spontaneous sing-a-longs on the bus.
this was about 5 minutes before the bus engine started smoking and we had to pull over into a shopping center off of capital boulevard. but at the moment, we were singing, "the wheels on the bus go round and round..."

at the park, we had the opportunity to eat our catered chick-fil-a lunch and play football, soccer, ultimate frisbee and frisbee golf. we also sat and listened to a singing and preaching contest for scholarships to one of the local Bible colleges.
these guys are way into frisbee golf anyways and had fun showing off.
after the park trip, we stopped triangle town center to eat dinner and let the kids shop a bit. at this point, i was craving fresh fruits and veggies. three meals at fast food places will do that to ya. i shared a garden salad and fruit salad with emelie and also got some diet coke (essential to functioning when you're only running on 5-6 hours of sleep.)

for the session on saturday evening, we listened to another great lesson from arron and spent nearly an hour outside discussing the future of the high school program. we also took a quick picture in front of the performing arts center (which is blurry, but the clear ones don't show the center and lights in the background.)
the evening continued with a comedy show and then everyone headed back upstairs to hang out. i was so exhausted at this point, i was about to fall over. so i got my girls settled in other rooms with chaperones and eventually went to bed. of course, i kept waking up to check and make sure they were where they're supposed to be. we also were dealing with daylight savings time, which meant when i woke up at 1:45 and still only had one out of three girls in my room, i had to remind myself that it was really 2:45 and then remind them that it was really 2:45 when i found them still playing cards in another room. (and that we were to have our stuff packed and out of the rooms by 8:30--again, so tired. so tired.)

so sunday morning was a bit more subdued. i was energized with the perfect cup of oatmeal from the starbucks that was in our lobby--cause that's what every upscale hotel hosting a ton of teens needs!--and let me just say, whoever thought to add oatmeal to the menu at starbucks was genius. i look forward to it every chance i get.

i took this picture just cause the lighting was cool.
and we were able to raise over $5,000 for the central india christian mission, where they will be able to build a church building over in india now that will serve several villages. so cool!

we helped clean up and take down the set and sound equipment...
and made our way to the bus, where it took several several tries to get bertha started up again. but that gave us plenty of time to take group pictures.
we stopped at crabtree for lunch and a little bit of shopping. i picked up some special tea for justin from teavana which was pretty cool to find.

on the way back, we listened to the first half of the carolina/duke game and tried out...

penny surfing! new for me, which is surprising considering how many bus trips i've made in my lifetime. here, we have meghan showing us the techniques (coached by bus driver david)
holding the penny up as we speed down the highway at 59 miles per hour (the fastest bertha will go.)
and then will joined in the action.
fun with penny surfing!

so, in conclusion, one of the best conferences i've been to in a while, and i'm so happy i had this opportunity to get to know my high schoolers better.

on an unrelated note, we have finally found the perfect gate to keep pepper contained on the back porch--just in time for this gorgeous weather we've been enjoying!
installed this one myself. pretty proud of my handiwork :)

okay, that's all for now. gotta get caught up on laundry.

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