We arrived at Totara Springs, Matamata at about 9:30 pm, Friday (quite a bit later than we first intended as we were held up before leaving), registered and found our cabins and joined the crowds of youth. Music was pumping, lights were flashing and teens were everywhere. My first thought was - our group really needs designed t-shirts or something, as everyone seemed to have them.....
The Late Night show began at 10, where we were introduced to everything that was going to happen. Firstly, youth groups were put into colours - pink, yellow, blue or rainbow. We got rainbow. Each corner of the auditorium had one of these colours so we stayed together in our teams each time we went in there. Each Late Night show had a form of game where two people from each colour had to compete. During the late night shows, and "sessions" a worship band "Mosaic" played - they only had about four songs, but they were pretty cool anyhow. We got to hear a guy called Jeremy speak during the sessions, he's a really awesome speaker. Like, he starts talking about his life, or a funny story or something and gets us interested, and then relates it back to what he's really talking about and it's just like, "wow, that's so true". His main message this year was "you and me were made to be free", how we were made to be free, to be ourselves, to do whatever we want.
An example he showed us was a video on how to catch a baboon. A guy in Africa put some form of food down this hole, the baboon, being curious couldn't help himself and stuck his arm down this hole. At the end is a sort of bowl where the food is sitting, so he scooped up the food in his hand and suddenly couldn't get his arm out, giving the guy the chance to capture the baboon. The idea is that if the baboon was to let go of the food, he would be able to remove his hand - because the fist hold on the food was what had caught him. At first I was horrified - I mean, who does that to capture a baboon? How mean! And then the realisation hit me and I knew how true that is. If we just let go of the things that are holding us, then we too would be free. My next thought was "where does this guy find these things?"
A couple days later we were given another, similar example - this time of an elephant. If you catch a baby elephant and tie a rope around its leg and attach it to a massive tree it won't be able to escape. You have that rope and tree attached to the elephant 24/7 and he will pull and pull, but will never pull down the tree. He'll give up eventually. Then, once he's bigger, you can attach that rope to a fence post. The elephant will not escape because he knows full well that he's tried his best, but he just isn't strong enough. I suppose you could say that it's been beaten into him that he's weak and just can't do it, so even though he's this massive monster his mindset has been altered. But, if the elephant were to see other elephants hauling down trees around him, he will have the opportunity to realise that he too can do the same thing. It's not that he's weak, more so that his mind is telling him he can't do it. Which is pretty sad when you think about it...
After the late night show was after hours, so you could do whatever you wanted up until 1am when it was strict lights out. There was karaoke, where one main guy sang heaps of cool songs, basket ball, caged soccer, table tennis, the pool. You could buy a hot chocolate, smore or cheese toastie and basically just hang out. I think that was my favourite time, because you could just sit and listen to the music with a hot chocolate to keep you warm. Even though that time of night was pretty cold, it was nice to just sit.
One night, Beth (from our group), her cousin and I got up and sang "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" by Taylor Swift, just straight out without the guitar. It probably sounded really really bad, but hey, it was fun, and it was certainly not something I would normally do! Anyway, everyone there was singing and dancing along, so it mustn't have been that bad!
On Saturday and Sunday morning we had a session and then went off to different "breakouts". There were six or seven different ones, and you picked two. They ranged from a testimony of seeing God, addictions, relationships, serving etc. The bulk of our group went to hear of the testimony on Saturday, which was actually really neat and then to the relationships one on Sunday. I didn't actually like the second one, I found I couldn't possibly take it seriously. Sure, it was true what she was talking about but because I couldn't relate to it at all, I found I couldn't take it with a straight face. It basically just bounced off of me. Everyone seemed to be soaking it in and I was like, yeah okay, when does it end? Sounds kinda bad aye?
Saturday we had the Wide Games, where we were put into our colours and sent onto the battlefield. 4 wheelie bins were lined up in a valley, and 4 drums were placed at the top of this massive rigged hill. The idea was that we were to take a plastic cup, fill it with coloured water from our bin and run across a section of grass - probably about 50 square metres - without losing the water. There are people running over this section knocking the water out of your hands, so the idea is to avoid these people as much as possible and get to the hill where you are safe. If you lose the water, you've gotta go back and refill. Once you've climbed this horrifyingly massive, stepped hill, you dump your water into another teams barrel. The hardest part is getting back down the hill... The winning team is the one with the least water in their barrel. Sadly, Rainbow didn't win....
Saturday was also X Factor, where talented people showed off for the judges and Sunday five of them performed in the auditorium during the Late Night show. Two guys sang "I See Fire" by Ed Sheeren, it was amazing and they got runner up. And a girl who played on the piano won overall and got $750! She must've been stoked!
Sunday was a sports competition of soccer and tag. Our youth group lost the round of soccer and the game of tag. I was just happy because I didn't need to participate in either of the games, as only 7 were in for soccer and 5 for tag. Of course there were subs, but if you didn't want to play, you didn't have to. Which was probably good for them since I'm not a sporty person at all - I probably would've scored a goal for the opposite team... o.O
Sunday night we also had the Bright and Tight banquet, so we all dressed into our bright and tight (those of us that brought it anyways....) It was funny how some of the guys came to our cabin and asked for nail polish! One was convinced to wear lipstick, which in turn caused a couple more to show up for it too. It's definitely not something you'd normally see! During the banquet a girl and boy from each colour did the last round of "Distraction", (the games that happened each night) They called them up on being brave, smart, strong minded, and good lungs to name a few things. Monique, one of our girls, bravely volunteered. I guessed that it'd be a food oriented game, so I was not putting myself up there. Lucky too, because the first thing they each had to do, was take an egg and smash it on their forehead. If it was hardboiled, they were through to the next round...if it wasn't....well....'twas a little bit messy! Two had this happen to them!
Monique was probably really pleased she only lasted that long, because the next round.....*drum roll* two eggs were smashed into a pipe (and this is were you needed the strong lungs!) you each had to blow in an end of the pipe and force the raw eggs into the opponents' mouth. Yuck!! Two people lost in this round, leaving one boy and one girl.
Next came probably the worst of all. The boy had a full bottle of milk tied around his wrist, the girl had a half bottle tied on hers. They had to hold onto a loop of wire, and not touch an electric wire that was running through it. I say that was probably the worst one, because it's really mind and fear oriented - I mean, who wants an electric shock? And as your arm is getting heavier and heavier, the hand starts to shake and you lose concentration quickly, it must get pretty horrible! The girl lost it a split second before he did, so it was pretty close! Although it went on for a good five minutes.
So yeah, it was a pretty awesome long weekend, we had the best food served to us all weekend, and our youth group had the easiest duties. Just setting up for lunch on Saturday and wiping down the tables after breakfast on Monday.
We had a frost fight on Sunday morning, heaps of people were off doing their group duties, so three of us were just wondering around and discovered the ice from the frost on the trampoline spring pad things. It was so thick! So it started pretty quickly, fingernails turning frozen from scraping up the ice, next minute ice is flying everywhere and more of our group joined in. It was so much fun! The great thing was that it was so warm that you didn't stay wet for very long either :D
Annoyingly by Tuesday morning I was sick with a cold, Tuesday afternoon it got worse and by Wednesday morning I was hit by this full blown cold. So I was living off the Robitussin and the Dimetapp cold tablets. The chemist reckoned the day ones were non drowsy and night ones would put me to sleep, well, the day ones knocked me out.... It may have just been part of the cold, but I'm certain these tablets had something to do with it! Thankfully I woke up today, not quite a new person, but a heck of a lot better. Not fully better, but on the track to recovery, which is all I can ask for. It was a pain, because I had to skip youth last night, but at least I don't have conjunctivitis like someone else caught at rage!