Some of the best moments spent with the kids are hanging out with them at the 3-hour free time that happens daily. It is a time where you can lather up the sunscreen, relax, and get to know them one-on-one. So many great conversations happen during this time.
Play time in the sand. Yvonne and Yvette [the twin, little ones]were in my condo.
Bayli was in my condo last year. I was so moved when I saw that she requested to be with me again this year! Bless her heart, though, she was allergic to something in the condo and got her best sleep outside on a pool chair during free time!
The coolest place is definitely in the pool up by the condos. I think that the week goes by with some of them never realizing there is a beach on the other side of the fence. [Well, not true; that's where we have Silent Sounds. Maybe they are just unaware that it is open during free time as well].
This picture is SO pretty! Pretty girls, pretty colors, pretty [GREEN] grass and trees. [We haven't seen green grass here at home in many, many moons. Still waiting…].
The 'tattoo' on my arms seen in some of the pictures are compliments of Tre :) NO ONE forgot my name. Ha!
Somewhere in there is one of my sweet girls, Abby. [Thankfully she was NOT the one buried in the sand. Gross].
I don't THINK this modern Tower of Babel was taken during my lifeguarding duties!
Dodge ball is HUGE here amongst the students. A team from our campus won the tournament at dinner that night!
Err, I never saw THAT sign!
Ultimate Frisbee: another campus title that we took home, I think.
Isn't this how one lifeguards?...
….moving out of the way for the perfect action shot?!?! [CT deserved it, I'm sure!].
There is an average of 7-8 kids per 1 adult leader. We are very busy as you can imagine. I have met some of my closest friends on beach retreat. It was fun to go back this year and be with some of those people again. Heather and I go all the way back to last year's retreats. This picture was taken on our 'anniversary' lol.
Leaders come in all types of shapes, sizes, and demeanors...
Some are just thankful to still be alive by day three and recognize the beauty in a little shade and quiet [well, minus the quiet-had this not been as tight of a shot you would see 150+ kids splashing and screaming in the pool]…
Some have black belts, bronze belts, and flaming belts and are not afraid to use them…
And some just have big guns.
The nurse team is without a doubt the MOST important group at the beach. Unfortunately they have the LEAST fun job. Unless you get a thrill in holding 3 barf bags out at once. This amazing team had their work cut out for them this week-I think there were over 300 reported cases of dehydration, stomach bug, car sickness, and food poisoning throughout the week. [I fell victim to number 2 bleh] And that doesn't even begin to cover all the other random and scarce ailments that being around 2000 students contract.
Duties: So you're not just in charge of your condo's worth of students. Sometimes you are responsible for the well-being and safety of a rather large number of students. Like 100. In a pool. Or the ocean. It can be a little stressful to say the least. On beach retreat you must have a buddy. Everywhere you go, your buddy goes [this does not apply to personal hygiene routines]. But it most certainly applies when venturing out into the scary waves and currents of the ocean. Show here is the buddy/student management system. We want to make sure that we don't ruin the tags so if you're in the water, your tag must be left at 'buddy board'. I sincerely hope that you know that I am kidding here :) But seriously, if you're in the water, your tag must grace the buddy board so that when the bull horn is blown and you and your buddy hold up your held hands, the number of hand-pairs match the number of tag-pairs. Supposedly this system works. I've never been assigned to it, thankfully. That said, I can only guess what my assignments will be next year.
Thankfully we are not ALWAYS on duty during free time. If you are caught up with your one-on-one's, don't have duty, or spent the previous night on the bathroom floor worshiping the porcelain god you can sit back and enjoy watching the other leaders work and stress. Ha! This picture was taken about 15 minutes after my 1.5 hour recovery nap. I was not happy that James had his camera out but didn't have the energy or muster to say anything in protest.
Baptism service: You've read me say it before, I'll write it again: MOST. AWESOME. SERVICE. EVER. This is a place where all 5 campuses come together, file into the wave pool, and celebrate with their peers as they walk the 'aisle' to be baptized by the pastors waiting in the deep end.
Dr. Young was unable to attend my first beach retreat [is first missed retreat ever!!!]. I was so glad that I got to experience him this year.
Craig Reynolds, Pastor at one of the campuses, baptizing students coming forward making decisions for Christ.
If this doesn’t jerk tears to your eyes you must be incapable of any kind of emotions whatsoever.
I LOVE this picture. Khris and G helped maneuver this sweet, wheelchair bound girl to the water's edge where she was lifted out and carried to the pastors by the Shbeeb brothers. Another tear-jerking moment.
This is James. Don't you think he did an AMAZING job capturing all aspects and emotions of the week's events?! If you can, you simply must go check out more of the week's moments as well as some of his other work. Thank you for the beautiful work, James!!!