Fall Retreat at Camp Rockmont is a celebratory time in the life of our Youth Family. We are kicking off a new school year, we are welcoming a new group of 6th graders, and we are finding some moments together to catch our breath after a very busy start of school and fall schedules. During our time away on retreat, our youth and adults began our yearly theme, You Be U. The main idea is being guilty of thinking about what we are not and how that can distract us so easily. How often we think we are not smart enough, not articulate enough, not athletic enough, not popular enough, and so on. God does not see us this way. God sees the image of God in each one of us. Each one of us is beautifully gifted with uniqueness of talents, abilities, interests and passions, and that is something to celebrate!

“Stop telling me who I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to do.” Jim used this phrase recently in a sermon, and it speaks to how I hope and pray our youth can learn to embrace their God-given uniqueness. This is a phrase that all teenagers need to hear repeatedly! We are unique children of God, and we are called to offer our uniqueness to God. You Be U isn’t a dismissive statement; it is an empowering statement. It means that students are free and called to love and serve God’s world with their own gifts and giftedness.

Thank you to our adult chaperones, Youth Committee and youth staff who helped to make another year of Fall Retreat at Camp Rockmont a wonderful experience for all involved. Our 2017-2018 school year is off to a great start. If you are a parent/guardian of a teenager, I hope you will make every effort to have them here on Wednesdays and Sundays for Bible study and regular programming. We welcome and encourage all teenagers to enter our space with a sense of comfort and understanding that it is accepted and encouraged to You Be U.

— Mary Carol