January 26, 2017
The Galilee Youth Group spent MLK weekend at reBOOT, our premier winter event for middle school and high school students. Nineteen boys and girls and six adult volunteers left on Friday afternoon, January 13, and returned the following Sunday evening. They spent two nights in retreat at Skycroft Conference Center in Middletown, MD and one day on the ski slopes at Liberty Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania.
Spending time together like this, away from school, parents, and Galilee, but with friends and respected Bible teachers, allowed these kids to stretch out, explore subjects that matter to them, make new friends, and get a genuine sense of themselves.
Volunteer Juli Briskman skis with young Galileans.
“reBOOT is always fun for me,” says Dominion senior Patrick Cox. “I’ve gone to Skycroft three of the four times we had retreats there. They’ve been good experiences, I’ve had great times.”
Patrick says that he preferred the retreat portion of the weekend to the skiing. “I ate it on a bunny hill. I hit it hard. No one should fall that hard on a bunny hill.”
“The Skycroft counselors do a fantastic job organizing and running ReBOOT,” says Melanie Carreras, an adult volunteer who enjoyed her first time at Skycroft. “It was cool going to a retreat on top of a mountain and watching the sunrise, and to see the youth singing, jumping, and dancing while the band was playing “God’s Great Dance Floor,” by Chris Tomlin. They had fun working together in teams at different stations during the activity hour—untangling themselves from human mazes, competing in trivia, participating in hula hoop relay races with rubber chickens, practicing bottle flips, taking the Saltine Challenge (can you eat six crackers in a minute).”
“This is a great group of kids,” says Melanie. “Seeing them grow close and gain confidence, I’m reminded of my own experiences at summer youth camps when I was a kid. I remember the flag drills, water slides, softball games, and making new friends. Like reBOOT, the camps that I went to taught Christian messages, but (naturally, I guess) I also focused on my friends. Galilee should be proud of these young folks. I am excited for their futures.”
Representing for Galilee @ reBOOT 2017.
“What made the weekend special was the camaraderie,” suggests Victor Carreras who, like his wife Melanie, accompanied the teenagers to Skycroft and Liberty. “It was even more special than I first thought, because initially I noticed that the kids that we drove up were all sticking together. They were on the same teams and in the same small groups. But then I saw our group talking to kids from other churches and counselors that they met in previous years.”
“Galilee got paired with another church,” Patrick Cox explains. “the church that did games with us is one that we normally get paired with, year after year. Galilee kids and the kids from that church have become close. Two girls, Hannah and Julie, are friends that Mason and I met our first summer at Skycroft and I still talk to them now and again outside camp.”
“They know us by name,” says Patrick’s brother, Jacob. “Just like the camp counselors, who we see each time we go up. Most of the people we played chess with were counselors, and actually my favorite small group was run by my favorite counselor, Bailey.”
“My favorite part was sneaking around the dorm room with Jared and Tommy,” says reBOOT first-timer Winston Smith. Although he was quick to allow that the Bible lessons at Skycroft may have had some effect. “The pastor gave a sermon, or a testimony I guess, that was powerful. He talked about bad life choices that led him to be marooned in a boat at sea. He was rescued and had a religious experience and that’s when his life started turning around for the better.”
“One message of the weekend was to make the right choices,” says Melanie. “God loves each of us unconditionally, and we have the chance to aknowledge that love when we choose to live right and love him in return.”
That’s a lesson that our 7th graders, particularly, will want to investigate as we move through Confirmation this spring.
ReBOOT is only one of the ways that Galilee’s youth come together for fellowship and personal growth throughout the year. Every Sunday at 7pm, Galilee Youth Group meets in the Youth Center of the original wing of the church. As one middle schooler said, “If you want to keep the spirit of reBOOT alive, come to Youth Group!”
Galilee’s youth will return to Skycroft this summer with two extraordinary camps, CentriKid for rising 4th-6th graders and reCHARGE for rising 7th-12th graders. It’s the same kind of faithful fun that was had by our youth at reBOOT, only warmer…and no one is going to eat it on the bunny hill.