First Presbyterian Church of Puyallup Youth and Young Adult Fall Retreat
Event Location: Westport, Washington

The Youth Group held our Fall Retreat this October at South Beach Presbyterian Church in Westport, Washington. SBPC is a small church off of Highway 105 about 7 minutes out of
downtown Westport. They have a great property with swings, a bell tower, fire pit, gaga ball pit, sandbox, and more. The youth group loved exploring the area. We went on a small walk to the beach through some wooded area and dunes. The path is about a 5 minute walk and puts you directly on the beach!

The youth group went out to a local pizza place for lunch and when we returned back to the church, we discovered the power was out. After some research, we discovered there was an accident on Highway 105 that led to the outage and it would remain out for the next few hours. Since it was still afternoon, we decided to just start on the lesson plan and worry later. We jumped headfirst into the lesson titled “Where Do We See You?” the theme being caring for yourself and your community.

Lesson 1: See and Be Seen. The overarching conversation being, there is intention required in seeing and caring for ourselves and others. The passages (Psalm 139 and Matthew 25) encourage us to invest in the works of the Kingdom of God, to serve the underserved – to love the unloved. In small acts, we can invest in our eternal life. The people we do not see or refuse to see are deeply impacted by their forced social isolation. We can reduce their loneliness by INTENTIONALLY outreaching to them.

Lesson 2: Know and Be Known. The conversation focused on when we have felt invisible, misunderstood, and unknown. As well as what we want people to know about us. We must
show up for others and ourselves when we are “the least of these” (Matthew 25). God never gives up on us and we should never give up on each other (Luke 24).

Lesson 3: Bless and Be Blessed. The focus was on John 10 and Psalm 26. We talked about being guided by God as he cares for us. “Surely goodness and mercy will follow us”. The three lessons culminated in wonderful discussion and learning among our youth. They each were able to chose a “type” of person they normally would not see or know, such as a homeless person, a service worker, or a mail person, and identify three ways to bless that person next time they encounter them.

As we were finishing up our lessons, the sun was going down. The power was still not on and there was concern we may have to return home. In the middle of the conversation, the power flipped back on! What a God moment! We worked together to make dinner after some free time where the youth played some games of ping-pong!

Finally we finished off the night with a Self-Care night. Complete with our favorite snacks. We will continue with the theme of self care and caring for others in our youth group. The funds will also help us with our 2024 Spring Retreat.