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A Rendezvous with Energy

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A story of today's teens

The schedule says; lights out 11:30 pm, basketball game 6 am, meditation 7:30 am, breakfast 8 am. Okay I don’t really need be part of the basketball game or even the meditation (there still is need for an adult to be with them) but lights out at 11:30 will even make an 8 am breakfast difficult. At home, lights out is about sunset; during the summer months, a little before. It is also when my daily energy is used up. 

The schedule is for Rendezvous, a long weekend church camp experience with over 70 high-schoolers from all over the Northwest and southwest B.C. Of course, the schedule is not problematic to their energy, my only concern is I’m in a cabin with several boys loaded with teen spirit. 

That is how I found myself near Chewelah Peak in northeastern Washington. I volunteered to be a one of those responsible adults—often a challenge for me. As usual during these events, they demonstrate to me about being responsible. 

Being immersed in that adolescent energy is my favorite experience of a time like this. And yet, below that chaotic energy, this group of young people was intent on learning choices that supported their goals and dreams. They were ready to learn skills to take responsibility for their happiness and not be victims. 

The environment that is created for this event is intended to be loving and supportive. The days were filled with scheduled events including heart talks in small “family” groups, learning about confidentiality, caring, listening, individual expression, and spirit share a talent show. As with any teen church group of over 70 people, there were diverse life experiences.

Many have had very loving, supportive family lives but some have not. There were some who felt they could not fit in, who discovered within this loving, non-judgmental environment they are perfect just as they are.  

It is interesting to see the effects of abandonment, whether it is due a broken and/or dysfunctional family life, or due to million dollar careers, or due to extreme substance abuse. The result is the same; only (sometimes) the quality of the clothes is different, and I noticed the clothes was not very important to them.  

Mostly I watched them help each other work through their issues. It is always fun to see who can help whom and then how they move to help others either to spread love or receive it. They help each other with fears of every kind. Many times one will be sharing and the receiver will then help the mentor. Much like a roundabout, the giver becomes the receiver, either in return or to others. There is a willingness and intention to give and receive, as they stretch their emotions and show their vulnerabilities, as they dialogue with each other both talking and listening.  I watched hours of change and interchange.

 With their youthful energy and exuberance they can sing and dance until soaked in sweat, until hoarse and exhausted, and then get quiet and contemplative, all in a search for truth—their truth.  

One evening started with drumming and dancing and ended with a meditation that took us all into silence—a silence that was maintained until after breakfast.  When the chimes rang to end the silence I was surprised to see students who seemed to want to continue.    

The setting is wonderful, comfortable and safe. For those not used to being in the woods it is a large open area with modern facilities. Yet the mountains and forest give a true camp feeling. 

So in order to support them, I decided I could get a little sleep deprived for a few days. While the energy is quite catching, at 11:30 pm my body is still 65 years old.

My take away from the time there is our world is in good hands. There is a great deal of understanding in my young friends. Taking care as well as taking responsibility. They want to show their caring by helping others while the other learns to help them. 

As I write this column—the morning after getting home—it is difficult. I realize I still have a great deal of raw emotion about my time with them. It is challenging because I’m still so close to the miracles of it all.  Once again I was taught by them—my receiving - to open my heart to the wonders of Spirit. 

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Author info

Ernie Hawks Ernie Hawks is a former theater director who has branched into the creative fields of writing and photography. He lives in a cabin in Athol with his lovely wife Linda, and feeds the birds in his spare time.

Tagged as:

The Hawks Nest, Rendezvous, church camp, teenagers, Chewelah Peak

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