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WinterBlast info

Winter retreat is this Friday! Woohoo!


Travel Details

We'll be meeting at church at 3:45pm on Friday, Feb 5, so we can leave by 4 and beat the traffic. We are driving two vehicles (looking for a second minivan, if you can spare it...) and are planning on stopping for dinner, so please have cash ready for that.

We'll be back to church between 1:30 and 2pm on Sunday the 7th, and are stopping for lunch then, as well. Your student will need cash for this as well.


Packing List:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Towel
  • Toiletries
  • Warm winter gear
  • Helmet (Helmets are required on the ice. Pilgrim Pines has some available, but it is helpful if some campers can bring their own)
  • Ice skates and sleds (optional, Pilgrim Pines has some)


If you have not yet filled out our medical release form, please print and fill out both pages and bring it to church on Friday. You can find it here.

Joy and I will be leading this trip, and we couldn't be more excited! Please let me know if you have questions or concerns.



WinterBlast Registration!

Our Middle School's winter retreat, WinterBlast, is just around the corner! We head up to Pilgrim Pines on February 5 to 7 for this fantastic weekend away.

Registration will happen through Pilgrim Pine's website, which you can find here. The cost for this event is $120. We do have some scholarships available, and you can contact Pastor Chris about that.

Exact times for pick up and drop off will be coming out soon. Who's excited?



WinterFest Travel and Packing info

With WinterFest just a few days away, here are the details you need for travel and packing.

Travel information
This year we're not taking a charter bus to WinterFest, but are opting for a 15-passenger van and minivan. How awesome is that?!

We're meeting at church at 2:45 this Friday in order to pack and get on the road by 3.  We will be stopping for dinner on the way, so pack a sandwich or bring cash for that.

Sunday, we're shooting to be back to church between 5 and 6, depending on when the last worship session ends. We will stop for a meal during that trip as well, so bring cash for that.

Weather for the weekend looks to be in the low 40's, with possibly some snow on Saturday and rain on Sunday. Pack some good shoes and a winter coat that can handle rain, along with a hat and gloves. Layers are a good way to handle cold outside and warm in the chapel area.

Bring your own bedding, shower stuff, Bible, journal, and water bottle. And make sure you have cash for food on the drives and some extra for WinterFest gear if you want.

Feel free to bring games to play in the car or books to read.

Follow Along!
If you're not going on this retreat, you can still follow along! Find us on Instagram @ECCAyouth or on the web at

If you have questions, feel free to respond to this email or call my cell phone (email me if you would like my number). I'll have my phone on me the whole weekend for emergencies.

See you Friday!



WinterFest registration

WinterFest is only one short month away. That means we need to get registered now! Registration happens on Pilgrim Pines' website; click here to get there.

This High School retreat will be January 8-10, 2016. We'll meet at church that Friday afternoon, hop on bus, have a fantastic weekend, and then be back Sunday before dinner time. Detailed information will be out soon, so keep an eye out.

We do offer scholarships for families who need it. Please talk to Pastor Chris or send him an email for more information. Registration costs for the weekend go to Pilgrim Pines, but we will be collecting the bus cost ourselves. We'll have final cost for you soon.

It's going to be a great retreat! Get pumped!



WinterBlast recap


Belong. Believe. Become. 

 That's what WinterBlast was all about. We learned about how Jesus, whenever he meets anyone, first makes sure that they know they Belong with him and his family, and then helps them to Believe and Become all that God has in mind for them.

So we spent a lot of time at this year's winter retreat just being together! And, oh man, it was a ton of fun.

Our students got to help lead some songs, Squanto-style. We played some really intense ping-pong, won some awesome prizes in the up-front games (including a Wii U!), and played a couple great games of Spoons (or 'Bursts, cause we had plenty of starbursts and zero spoons).

And, yes, some students were thrown into the snow. And, yes, they did get their revenge.


During the day on Saturday, we had a couple different teams participate in a cardboard sled race. All our teams did awesome! One of the boy's teams even won an award for "Shortest Journey!" 

Our broomball team did outstanding this year! We won the whole tournament, bringing home the "Golden Broom" for the first time in many, many years, where it will stay for many, many more years, I'm sure. Way to go!


After braving the snow and the cold on the drives up to and back from Pilgrim Pines, we really did bond together as a group. There is a definite feeling of "belonging." It was a privilege to show off our camp, Pilgrim Pines, to some students who had never been up there before. It was a joy to spend time with such amazing middle school students as these!

Special thanks go to Joy and Jared, who volunteered their time to spend the weekend with our students. They're amazing!

I'm already looking forward to next year. Till then, here's a brief video with some highlights of the time:

[vimeo 120060015 w=960 h=540]



Prepping for WinterBlast!

Click the photo for more info on the retreat

Our Middle School winter retreat is at hand! 

It's going to be a fantastic trip, and I'm pumped about each student that's attending.

We are providing transportation to and from the retreat. Here are some details about travel and such:

  • We'll be meeting here at church at 4:30pm on Friday, February 6, so we can be ready to take off by 5.

  • Please bring cash for dinner on the way up, and lunch on the way down. There will also be time to buy Pilgrim Pines gear, so bring extra spending money if you would like.

  • We should be home on Sunday, February 8, between 1:30 and 2pm. Pick up will be here at church. I will email with a definite time on Sunday when we stop for lunch.

Weather looks like it'll be beautiful, but cold up at Pilgrim Pines, so please pack appropriately. Here's a suggested list from the Pines:

  • Warm Clothes (layers are great!)

  • Winter hat, gloves, scarf, pants, jacket, boots, etc

  • Ice Skates (if you have them)

  • Bible

  • Sleeping bag/pillow

  • Towel/bathroom stuff

  • ** One of their new policies requires any guest playing on the ice to wear a helmet. Pilgrim Pines will provide helmets, but guests are encouraged to bring their own

Finally, please print and fill out both sides of this medical release/emergency contact sheet. You/your student can't come with unless we have that signed form!

As always, feel free to send me an email with any questions or concerns.




Winterfest recap

Wow. This was my first WinterFest, and I was not disappointed. Every moment of the weekend, from the bus rides, to the speakers, to late-night chats, to many, many games of air hockey (and I mean a lot of air hockey), was steeped in fun and overflowing in God's presence.

Sometimes in church we can get stuck thinking that God only walks with us in the hard times of life, the tough times. But this retreat reminded me that the Holy Spirit can and does join us in our fun and laughter. And the opportunities for fun never seemed to run out at WinterFest! The game room was open both nights, with pool, foosball, pingpong, and, of course, air hockey. We spent time there just hanging out and playing games. During free time, we got to ride a zip line and the screamer swing (a huge, three person swing you get harnessed into!). And we can't forget the gym full of inflatable bounce castles!

The good times went deeper, too, as we dug into the message that Pastor Judy brought. She asked the question, "What are your 'therefores'?" When you encounter God, there is always a "therefore." I met God, therefore I will care for the poor. I met God, therefore I will befriend the friendless. I met God, therefore I can no longer continue a certain activity or habit or addiction. This idea spurred lots of conversations that we will continue through XL.

My first Winterfest will certainly be one to remember! Thanks to Kim and Heidi for volunteering their time and energy as leaders. After this wonderful weekend, I am pumped for the rest of the school year with our high school students, and am really looking forward to the Middle School retreat coming up in just a few weeks!



Winterfest bus info!

The retreat is just a few short days away, and I'm getting excited.

Here's the departure time info: The bus will meet us at church at 3:30pm this Friday, January 9th. We're the second stop out of three, so we'll need to load up quick and get on our way as soon as possible. That means that you need to be at church with all of your stuff packed and ready to go by 3:15! That'll give us a little flex time if they bus is early and time to get everything set to have a great weekend. We will be stopping for dinner on the way up, so bring some cash for that.

Our return time is a bit more flexible. We will leave the camp around 11am on Sunday, and will stop for lunch (so make sure to save some money for that). We should be back around 5 or 5:30pm. I will let you know via email our anticipated arrival time that day.

The cost for the bus right now is $63 per person. This was not included in the registration fee. If you can pay all of that, please do. If you can't pay the full amount, I'm asking for $20 or anything more that you feel comfortable paying. You can make a check out to "ECC" and bring it with on Friday. If you have any trouble at all with the bus fare, let me know! The church can help out with that.

In addition, students will need to bring $2 cash as a tip for our driver.

It looks like it will be a cold and maybe wet weekend in New York, so dress warm. Shorts and sweatshirt are not going to keep you warm at 20 degrees. Bring layers, something to stop the wind, and good boots. We will be outside quite a bit, so dress for the weather!

Please let me know if you have questions! I'm looking forward to this!