47 young people met at Carman United Church for a weekend, Oct 21 to 23, 2022, for the region wide ALF youth retreat. ALF which stands for Adolescents Learning About Faith, has run for 36 years straight with ALF 2020 being held online and ALF 2021 being a one-day event in 2 locations. It was great to see this event running almost like in pre-pandemic times, with a couple Covid protocols put in place by the YAAY Committee , in an attempt to keep our participants and host community safe.
The planning team took us on adventures to discover the theme “We All Dream Big” through music, worship and theme sessions. They introduced stories of dreams from the Bible and from modern history with videos, readings and images. We interacted with these stories through skits and discussions. We did challenges to receive puzzle pieces to create dream related images. We had fun interpreting dreams told by leaders. We also had the opportunity to hear and discuss an amazing pair of dreams shared by our Indigenous Knowledge Keeper, Rey Anderson, during which we learned a bit about the role of dreams in Indigenous culture. We sang about dreams. We imagined our dreams for the future and learned about goal setting on our road to achieving our dreams.
We enjoyed beautiful weather, chatting outdoors, drawing with sidewalk chalk, and playing at the school playground on the swings and structures.
We walked across town to the high school gym for volleyball, basketball, a cultural game led by Sabry, free play and showers.
Saturday afternoon we added a new agenda item, which we called “social stations.” Everyone tried out one or more stations – line dancing lessons, building with straws and connectors, playing telestrations, or drawing/colouring.
The evening social time included Minute to Win It on Friday and a dance party on Saturday …paired with a space for chatting and quieter activities each night.
Each evening finished with a bedtime story acted out on the spot by volunteers from the audience, intermingled with lots of laughs, after which everyone made their way to their sleeping bags to catch a few Zzzs to prepare for another day of fun with new friends!
Sunday morning we joined worship with Carman United Church where youth volunteers read scripture and prayers. The whole group offered two of our retreat songs in worship.
Parents who came to worship were welcomed to join us for our final meal prepared by an amazing team of cooks who kept us well fed all weekend. Thanks so much to Carman United Church for being great hosts!
Thanks to the ALF 2022 Co-coordinators, Chelsea Sosiak and Quinlin McLeod and all the young adults and youth who joined them as planning team and home group leaders. Thanks to our chaplains and knowledge keeper, too.
I hope everyone will save the date for Zeebu 2023, on Louis Riel/Family Day weekend, Feb 18 to 20th. Location TBD.