Sunday, July 04, 2010

Nashville Mission Trip: Day 6

Time to pack up and go home!  It was a good trip coming home.  We got to say good bye to our CSM staff and take a great team picture.  We arrived home a little later than I wanted to but losing an hour on our way home didn’t help.  But I do remember that it was just an amazingly beautiful day to travel home.  And the teens in my van listened to the CD of the lady whose concert we went to go hear on Wednesday night.  I pretty much had the CD memorized by the time we got back to EUMC. 

Overall here are my impressions of this trip.

1.  Best Junior High mission trip yet.  We had a great group attend and a great site with excellent staff from the Center of Student Missions.

2.  CSM does a great job.  The church that we stayed at was probably one of the nicest sights we have had as our home base for a trip.  The CSM team was obviously friends with each other and enjoyed what they were doing. 

3.  The service projects were excellent.  I loved that each team had one sight that they returned to every day so they got the experience of building relationships and getting to know kids for more than just one day.  But I also loved that the other half of the day gave them a variety of different experiences. 

4.  The other activities were great also.  I loved the Urban Experience and the concert that we got to attend.  I really, really loved how dinner was a cultural experience as well.  Many times it was a hit and some times it was not, but overall I think that was more memorable than just doing cafeteria style food back at our site or hitting fast food. 

5.  I will never be the only guy on a trip again or we will just not take the boys.  And I mean it.  I have split roles now as a dad and as a youth pastor.  This group is just too big for one guy.  I had Max help me on this trip and Paul helped me last Summer.  And I will always be open to Senior Highers helping on the Junior High trip.  But I personally need at the bear minimum one more dad, someone I can fall back on and help me out so that I can better focus on the whole group and leave the “dad” part of me at home. 

6.  I will always take Senior Highers who demonstrate leadership to help on these kinds of trips.  Once again, to watch what Paul and Max were able to accomplish was amazing.  Their faith is impacted as well as our Junior Highers.  It is fun for me to coach our Senior Highers in this way but they are equally helpful for me in their advice and ideas pitched at me which is just about always dead on.

7.  I will always make sure I have a good mix of veteran and rookie adult leaders.  I like getting more adults involved but I equally love those who have been around the block a few times with me and get me.  Breaking in Newbie’s is a lot of fun too!

8.  We will always have a free night whether the mission organization gives us one or not!  Thankfully, CSM makes this apart of the week.  This is always important especially if the scheduling is pretty intense.  It helps to give the teens something to look forward to knowing that some downtime is coming where we will kick back and have some fun.

9.  I have become a big fan of CSM.  I would highly recommend them to anyone.  We ran into a group of teens with “Group Camps” who did not seem like they were having a good experience.  They said that they needed to check their bodies for ticks every morning at the place they were staying at.  Gross.  That is unacceptable in my opinion.  We also ran into the Youthworks group throughout the week.  I like Youthworks.  I just got annoyed the last two times we went with them that we had to use public showers and showers off site.  I have a hard time understanding what is so hard about finding a building we can use that meets all of our needs: food, sleep, showers (especially if you are in a major city).

10.  Inviting the new 7th graders and holding onto the old 8th graders I believe is a good thing.  The new 7th graders get to know everyone so quickly and feel apart of the youth group instantly.  They don’t have to wait for Confirmation.  The old 8th graders would do well with the Senior High but they would be more subdued being the young ones.  On the Junior High trip they can be the leaders.  They can step up to the plate.  It’s all good. 

If you have any other evaluations or observations that you would like to add to this list feel free to leave your comments.  All in all, it was one of the best trips we have done so far!

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