A high school youth retreat at a mega-church is something that still throws me into culture shock, even though this was my fourth one. It's kind of insane. As in, in this group they write and film their own comedy sketches that are most of the time actually brilliant, so brilliant that the guy that headed that initiative up now is up at Chicago's Second City.
As in, the Saturday night late-night fun is filled with massive bounce houses, karaoke, the fat-suit sumo wrestling outfits, etc.
As in, Jason Castro and the Dallas Maverick's Maniaacs showed up unexpectedly (not at the same time!). I had no idea who the Maniaacs were, but you really never know what's coming next so when portly middle-aged men got on stage I was just ready to see what would happen next. I wasn't even surprised when they started dancing around in torn t-shirts. My jaw DID drop when they started throwing out beaded necklaces to kids that were going nuts in the audience, and I was just hoping the kids had no idea what the connotation of that is!
So funny. The good thing is that the group now reflects a little more diversity than the north Dallas bubble sometimes does. I just try not to think what my Papuan friends would think of all the things these kids get to experience on a youth retreat, and remember that within the culture here in North Dallas, this is the norm. Actually, it's even a striking contrast from my own life to theirs, mine in a small one-bedroom apartment and an old car with a belt that squeals when I start it up. Theirs, the children of successful business people in a successful city, currently living the privilege their parents have worked for.
And some things are universal. My girls are Juniors so they are dating, the guys groups follow them like puppies (or the reverse, just depends on the day!), there are emotions flying everywhere, lots of angst, lots of love, and lots of fun. I mean.... even when it's rough, high school is also incredibly fun, this testing of each experience as a new thing.
We made a grocery store run for chips and dip and fruit gushers at midnight, I introduced them to boba tea and jenga, and we had some great talks. We drove around in my car, which is older than they are (what?!), and which they think is amazing because they've never experienced a car that does not auto lock and unlock. They'd never had to manually roll their windows up and down!
This insight into the hearts of young girls? It is a privilege.