04.16.24 | Youth Ministry | by Heather Morrison

    Travis Hutchinson and I recently returned from taking two Spring Break surf trips with two different groups of our high school students. Collectively, we took twenty-one students to Jensen Beach and Cocoa Beach, Florida. 

    You might be asking “Why are we teaching students how to surf when we live in Tennessee?” The answer to this has many layers. We aimed not only to have fun, but to deepen relationships with the students and encourage their relationships with one another. Additionally, we desired for them to experience a new adventure and to develop a greater appreciation for God’s creation. 

    For a little history about surf trips: while I was in high school at CCS, Travis taught a group of students, including myself, how to surf. We took weekend trips down to the beach where we would camp and surf. These trips built such strong relationships and were very fruitful experiences. Seven years later, it is still a big part of my life, and I still surf with the people I started out with. When Travis came to CPC, we both immediately knew that we had to share this experience that we love with our students. 

    During our recent trips, we started each morning with a devotional time and then headed to the beach to surf for the day. We would return to the campsite for dinner, and just spend quality time in each other’s presence. There is something beautiful about spending a week camping and trying something completely new and different that brings a group of people together. It was so encouraging to watch our students connect and build relationships with one another throughout the week. Both trips were filled with so much laughter, new and deeper connections, and many lasting memories.

    One of our goals for the Youth is for them to find their “tribe.” A tribe is typically a group of people who are drawn together by a common interest (i.e. surfing) that has the capability to form lasting and safe friendships. These relationships are designed to occur organically and last beyond high school. Our hope for these surfing trips was for the students to explore an activity which they could use to build their tribe and obtain close relationships which will then help them to grow into more of the image of their Creator.

    By the end of the week, each student had successfully learned how to surf, tasted Travis and my gourmet fireside cooking, and experienced the wonders of a surf shop. We plan to make these trips a new tradition for our Youth group.  

    Here are a few quotes from students about their experiences:

    • “The surf trip was an intentional time to step away from the everyday, mundane life and to connect with a small group from the church family. We grew so much closer together as friends. Also connecting with our leaders Travis and Heather! We had yummy camping dinner and s’mores! Surfing and the ocean was my favorite part! Learning something new to do in God’s creation and in fellowship was so life giving.”  Sophie Wright
    • “The surf trip was an amazing week full of laughs, surfing, and shrimp tacos.”  Josh Sotelo
    • “Of all the many trips that CPC has been able to offer, this one has been by far my favorite. The freedom of camping and eating whatever we can think up over a fire at night, joined with the wild waves we tried to conquer, made this an incredible and worthwhile trip.”  Étienne Lewin

    Heather Morrison, Assistant Youth Director

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