For those who are reading and are not sure what Life Teen is; let me explain it for yah. Life Teen is a Catholic Youth Ministry that solely focuses on high school teens, strengthens their relationship with God, as well as builds another community for the high school teens to run to. I was born and raised Catholic so when high school rolled around; one of my close friends and I joined Life Teen together (because back in the good ole days you and your close friend just do everything together no matter what). I can honestly say that Life Teen memories were probably some of the best memories ever created when I was in high school. From touching themed nights, to the big white elephant Christmas party we have every year, to the wonderful weekend getaways to the mountains for retreats; my faith was stronger than ever.
This year I decided to let Jesus take the wheel (cue Carrie Underwood singing) and lead me to my youth minister and discuss becoming a Core Member. I was volunteering for Vacation Bible School and when we were done for the day I remember seeing her in the room and immediately ran to her to give her a hug and talk to her. She asked me if I was ready to say Yes and I remembered replying back to her saying "I'm all in". I did not know that at that moment; my life was about to change forever and change for the better.
So let's fast forward a few months after I met the other core members and we started planning the Life Nights and with a blink of an eye; it was time to start planning for retreat. I was honestly so nervous to start planning for this retreat because I was worried that I wouldn't be able to give the teens the full "retreat experience" I was given when I went on retreats.
After planning for a good bit next thing I knew; it was retreat weekend and after a lot of planning for my session my group and I established that I would be doing the main part of the Proclaim. I was beyond nervous. I love talking and but talking in front of teens is frightening. Throughout the entire retreat I felt a sense of calm over me and I remember being so vulnerable the last day of retreat to a point where I cried, all of my anxiety went away, until it was time for me to share my proclaim.
I was BEYOND nervous on the inside but I had tried to play it off so well. I tried to look comfortable in my chair and I acted like I was just carrying a casual conversation with everyone. At the end of my proclaim I had some of the teens give me a hug and told me that i had done a great job and you would think that hearing everyone tell me that I did a great job was the best feeling ever; well you are wrong.
At the end of the retreat when all of the teens were sharing their testimonies on how they felt the weekend went I started to think back on all of the teens I spent an entire weekend with; seeing them grow in their faith, seeing the teens become so vulnerable in front of our Relentless Father; that was the best feeling ever. Being able to witness all of the teens create a closer connection with God and having their questions answered was exactly why I said yes and decided I wanted to devote my life to Life Teen.
The eight hours of sleep, long nights, and no naps was worth all of it. Being able to search for answers to my own questions but also be a part of helping the teens search for answers to their own questions and having a part in these teens life changed my faith but also helped me strengthen my faith. At the end of the day; I know I will never be the same person I was before I left for this retreat.