Handmade: Girls’ Retreat
I wrote this post several weeks ago but wanted to get photos to include before I posted it! Here’s a peak into this year’s Girl’s Retreat at AAI…
What does it mean to be made in God’s image? How would our lives be different if we truly believed we were uniquely crafted by our Creator, handmade by the God of the universe?
These were just some of the questions we had the chance to explore with high school girls at Handmade, the first AAI girls’ retreat. Twenty two 9th – 12th graders and six leaders piled into school vans after school on a Friday, along with a plethora of luggage and enough food to feed an army, and headed north to Papallacta, a quiet place in the mountains surrounded by green. The hour and a half trip stretched into four as we got stuck in traffic getting out of the city and fog and darkness driving through the mountains. We got there safe and sound, though, eager to stretch our legs and get dinner going.
Within the theme of Handmade, the leaders took turns leading sessions throughout the weekend that were anchored in topics such as true beauty, identity, community, and embracing being the beloved of Christ in the midst of culture and media that tells us otherwise. Each session culminated in a hands-on activity where the girls got to reflect on the topic and experience hand-making something that represented the thoughts shared.
We made bracelets, decoupaged boxes, made calzones, and decorated puzzle pieces for one another to put together into a picture of community. And we had times of individual reflection and prayer based on Psalm 137, as well as times of worship and prayer together.
There were also plenty of times for just plain enjoying one another and time away together. We drove to the nearby hotsprings and relished the warmth of the pools while having some fabulous conversations. We stayed up late watching movies, eating delicious homemade snacks, and laughing and sharing about life together.
Here we are making our own calzones! Filled with different toppings and taking on different shapes, each was unique.
By the time we headed home Sunday afternoon, everyone was exhausted but renewed. The girls had wrestled with some tough topics and relished in the way God created us as women, and it was a joy as leaders to come alongside them in this. The retreat was the first of its kind, but it will most certainly not be the last.
May 26, 2013 Ecuador