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Holly McCamant: Youth retreat was great time, despite that tree

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Just last weekend, I got the opportunity to go to the Northwest Minnesota ELCA Synod Youth Gathering at the Castaway Club on Pelican Lake just west of town. I wasn’t so sure about going at first, but it was so worth it.

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I go to First Lutheran Church of Detroit Lakes. We are part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and are part of the Northwest Minnesota Synod, so our church was invited to the high school gathering. Unfortunately, All State Choir and Band concerts at Detroit Lakes High School fell on the same weekend, so only the youth director, Hillary, and another girl, Kaitlyn, could go.

Even though our group didn’t have a lot of people, Kaitlyn, Hillary and I had a lot of fun. Hillary is really fun and outgoing, and Kaitlyn is one of the nicest girls you will ever meet, and we had a lot of adventures.

Our first adventure happened while finding a parking spot. I took about as long to register and find a place as it did to drive there.

First, we parked in a very narrow space that was only big enough for Hillary’s Camry. However, that was apparently the wrong place to park, so we had to find another spot. That didn’t work out so well because there was barely enough room to drive straight, let alone turn out of our parking row.

The first thing we hit we thought was a snow bank. There’s barely any snow anymore, though, so when we looked behind we saw several car marks on the hill we had just bumped.

Since there were no parking spaces left, we found a nice spot by a van to park. Well, it wasn’t actually possible to park there without blocking someone, but it looked nice from a distance. We were paying a little more attention to getting our way out than to the tree behind us, which I don’t recommend.

Hillary’s car has been through worse, but I certainly don’t think it appreciated getting its rear end rammed into that tree.

After our little match with the tree, we eventually found a place in another parking lot. As soon as we got settled into our cabin, we started our night at about 8.

I learned a couple of things there fast. First, Lutheran energy is overwhelming and infectious. When Lutherans sing, we sing loud. Dancing happens as much as possible. The energy was the perfect welcome to the weekend.

The second thing I learned is that our guest speaker, Mike Carlson, is one of the best speakers you will ever hear. Forget the long preacher talks about how we should live purely. Mike spoke about how we are to be imitators of Christ, and follow him in every way. When Mike spoke, it was entertaining, captivating and far from boring. I don’t think there was a person there who didn’t like his messages.

For the third thing, I learned fast; I discovered the food at Castaway is fantastic. Normally camp food is so-so most of the time, but every meal I ate that weekend was delicious. For dinner, we were served Oreo ice cream cake for dessert.

Oreo cake wasn’t the best part, though. Besides the worship services, we had a lot of free time. Castaway has outdoor hot tubs. I’m not the type to sit around in hot and let my skin get itchy, but it was cold outside, so I figured my skin wouldn’t bother me so much. It helped that there was snow that I could hold.

I wasn’t the only one holding snow, however. The boys were holding snow too, and if boys are holding something, it’s going to get thrown. That theory of mine was proven correct, and I got snow all over me. I ended up being the girl with glasses who looks innocent but throws half of the snow.

This weekend has to be one of the best weekends of my life. If you ever get the chance to go to a youth gathering, do everything you can to go.

The only scary part is waiting to find out what your youth director will do when she finds out you wrote about her collision with an oak tree in the newspaper.

Holly McCamant is a freshman at Frazee-Vergas High School.

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