Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DOWAMA Winter Camp 2012: Teen Reflection

I'm very excited to present our first-ever guest blogger: Hibbah K. of Dallas, TX. She is kind enough to share a reflection about her experience from DOWAMA Winter Camp 2012. Many thanks to Hibbah for putting her experience into words and sharing with us!

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
Below is Hibbah's Teen Reflection scattered with photos from the weekend; please enjoy!

"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
This weekend at WAMP was an opportunity to clear my head of everything society has been telling me is important. As I got on the bus, and saw all my friends from Houston, and as we drove to Oklahoma, I truly felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The best thing about retreats is that you can truly be yourself. You don’t have to worry about what other people think about you and you don’t have to worry about what you’re supposed to do or say in order to be accepted. You are already accepted by everyone around you. Throughout the weekend, I was able to focus on what was truly important in life: Christ and my friends who were taking this journey with me. After being constantly bogged down by my cell phone and TV and Facebook, Camp Takatoka was truly a breath of fresh air (pun intended). 

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

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