Tuesday, October 25, 2011

T-3 Days

Today was spent in the church basement. The church basement is at least 10 degrees cooler than the upstairs. It was cold, but that didn’t dampen my energy. I was hard at work to transform the youth room into outer space for this weekend’s High School Retreat.

The retreat theme is “Out of this World” based on John 15:16-19 which says:

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

The High School Retreat will be made up of youth from six different congregations all from around Alaska including towns of Homer, Funny River, Anchorage, Palmer, Wasilla, Eagle River and Chugiak. I never realized how much goes into a three day event; food, activities, decorating, Bible Study, schedule, transportation, budget.

Food in itself is a feat. Planning meals and coordinating volunteers to make the meals, making sure there are enough utensils (as the church does not have all of the cooking necessities), etc.

The service project was another great task. The youth are helping at the local senior center to run games, and serve snack for the Halloween festival where kids have an alternative to trick-or-treating in the cold. Phone tag back and forth with the activity coordinator at the senior center has been an ongoing process but we finally got it nailed down.

Then there are activities including the mixers, large group games (that tie in the theme), and coordinating with the local pool for a swim time (doubles as shower time since the church has limited showing facilities).

Also there is Bible study. Each Bible study (one for each day) has been assigned to a DCE (myself included) and is written by the leader that day. The Bible Study is specifically for the retreat to match the theme. For me it takes a great deal of effort, as I want it to be fun but also have the youth be able to take something away from it.

Those are some of the behind the scenes things but I want to tell you specifically about decorations as this is what occupied my time at the office today. Working with a limited budget, and due to the outrageous cost of shipping things to Alaska much of the stuff we use for decorations or prizes is hand made. This way it is just the way we need like/want it to be custom made to fit the size of wall etc.

Two large butcher paper strips taped together, and painted

all laid out...

This is what the wall looks like before...
...and this is what it looks like after
Sweet! (one black light on the bottom table and two hanging from ceiling)
For the theme I wanted to create and outer space backdrop. I really was inspired from my older brother’s room as he had black lights with glow in the dark stars. I took this idea and put on large strips of butcher paper florescent stars, and painted (with special glow in the dark paint) dots to look like stars. Planets were printed on the computer (I’m not that crafty) and then pasted onto the large black paper.

I then hung black lights from the ceiling near the backdrop. This makes the florescent stars, colorful planets, and glow in the dark paint pop! My electrical skills were pretty sweet too. I strung and extension cord above the ceiling tiles to where the black lights are.
Black lights on the ceiling=a success
I also decorated the hallway leading in with florescent stars and black lights. Tomorrows project will be to make a path with rope lights on both sides of the hallway (sort of a portal to space feel), and then I am going to hang regular white Christmas lights from ceiling to act as "stars" twinkling.
Hallway-soon there will be rope lights too
With the black lights..the picture doesn't do justice because it's way cool
On the side of the room opposite to the giant space backdrop there is a large projection screen. On the screen  4 different images taken from google search of outer space pictures from the Hubble Telescope will be projected. I also plan to play this awesome sci-fi, space type music, to set the mood.

The star sheets that will be hung over the windows, and the screen where the Hubble Telescope pictures will be projected.

More pictures to come tomorrow when I get my stars (Christmas lights), and rope light portal installed. T-3 days until retreat blast off!

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