Over President's Day weekend (February 17-20, 2012), 90 teens from across the Diocese of Wichita & Mid-America (Antiochian) gathered at Camp St Raphael (YMCA Camp Takatoka) in Wagoner, OK. It was a truly blessed weekend for our teens to spend quality time with their friends, while learning about the importance of active participation in their Faith in their daily lives. Our speaker for the weekend, Mr George Hazlaris of NY (Greek Archdiocese) spoke about "Christ as the Merciful Judge" connecting with the Gospel lesson for this Sunday of preparation of Great Lent (Meatfare Sunday - Gospel of Matthew 25:31-46).
|Participants of Winter Camp 2012 @ CSR|
|Our Retreat Speaker, Mr George Hazlaris of NY|
"A retreat is defined as an act of moving back or withdrawing, and this is exactly what I did last weekend at WAMP. I was blessed to spend four days with my brothers and sisters in Christ, away from all the chaos of the world. I had the opportunity to retreat into a weekend of bliss with people who had the same religion and morals as me, and after spending so much time surrounded by such a materialistic world, last weekend was a dose of Heaven on earth that I didn’t realized how much I needed.
|Teen SOYO of Dallas, TX|
|Smiles with Fr James Shadid|
|Our 2nd attempt at a Bonfire|
|Smiles with Andreea Balan, Youth Director of Dallas, TX|
|St George Houston, TX|
We were blessed to have George Hazlaris as our speaker, who came all the way from New York! Of the many things he spoke about, his talk about the end of the world and the time we have stood out to me the most. There are all these theories about when the world is going to end, most of which are nonsense. Every so often, a new person claims to know the exact date of when the earth is going to explode and many people react in different and crazy ways. But in the end why does it matter? Life expectancy is about 90. If the teens at the retreat were about 15 and up, then that means the world for us is ending in 75 years or less. We think we have time, but we don’t. That is what I got most out of the retreat and is what I hope to change as I go into Lent and life in general. None of us have as much time as we think we do. We have to enjoy what we have with the people that matter, doing what is really important. Last weekend, that is exactly what I did. It was a weekend well spent with people I love as we all got closer to Christ together, and it is a weekend that I will remember as I go through the remainder of my 75 or so years, hoping to make every weekend count in Christ’s eyes."
This reflection was written by Hibbah K. of Ss Constantine & Helen Antiochian Orthodox Church of Dallas, TX. She is currently a high school senior and serving as President of her local chapter of Teen SOYO.
- A Day in the Life of the Youth Director