Getting In Our Youth Group Harvest Party Before The Snow Hit!

This picture makes me incredibly happy. When the youth group is at our house for one of our special occasion gatherings, this is what the entry way looks like. Every time. I can't help but smile because all of these junior high-, high school- and college-aged kids actually want to be with us. They want to spend time with us, and that speaks directly to my heart.

As with all teenagers, most of what we do at our youth retreats centers around food. For the harvest party, Danny grilled angus burgers and brats, and we had slow cooker lasagna and dirty rice. Everything gets set out on the counter, and we graze for the rest of the day. (Which makes for very few leftovers. They always take to-go boxes home with them.)

This was probably our last opportunity fish this year, so all the guys wanted to do a fishing derby. We're blessed beyond measure to have three brothers join our group this month, so they had never been down to fish in the big pond. Since it covers several acres, they were able to spread out and have a fishing spot all to themselves. I won't tell you how many fish were caught, just to save a little embarrassment.

Since it was a college football Saturday, several of us camped out in front of the television for a while. It speaks volumes to how comfortable they are in our home when they fall asleep watching the game.

And somehow Molly ended up in a hat. Not sure what happened there...

It may sound silly for a group of teenagers, but they love games and puzzles. We sent them out on a scavenger hunt around the property, and the race was on! They could bring the items back in a plastic bag to prove they found them, or they could take a picture with their phone. (Which explains why my photos folder now has pictures of a fallen tree limb, a dead bug and birds flying overhead.) The winners got first choice of the KinderJoy chocolate eggs, another youth group tradition.

And they always want to see if finally, this time, they'll be able to beat Danny at arm wrestling. You can tell by the look on their faces that it didn't happen this time, either. There's video of it, if you'd like to see it sometime.

This was also an emotional gathering, as one of our graduates was leaving for Basic Training just three days later. We laughed, we cried and we shared some sweet memories that will last a lifetime. We couldn't be prouder of him and his decision to to great things with his life. And I'm not sure how the conversation started, but all of a sudden the guys are doing square push ups, which are incredibly difficult. 

When that didn't work, Danny challenged them to circle push ups - each person does one push up, then stays up while everyone else does one. Then two, then three ... they did all the way to five, staying in the up part of the push up the entire time. They did an amazing job - hopefully the drill sergeants will agree! The time we spend together as a youth group is priceless, and these hours spent enjoying each other's company are so special. Now, on to the Christmas party!


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