Holden Youth Weekends are back!
Wait, what? What’s a Holden?
Sorry, Holden Village. It’s an old mining town in the mountains above Lake Chelan. The Lutheran Church bought it several decades ago and now it’s a small community where people can go to visit, to retreat, and to serve.
Okay. So… What does this have to do with me?
Oh! Well, for years they did a thing in May where they’d take a whole long weekend and do a huge retreat event just for high school students. But they haven’t done one in a few years because there was this huge project to clean the old mine site up, and that involved lots of heavy machinery and people and whatnot, so they had to close for guests for awhile. But they’re planning to reopen to guests starting in December, and hoping to start doing the May Youth Weekends again this spring!
You sound excited.
I’m totally excited! Holden is an EXPERIENCE, and one I think everyone should get to have at some point! But I see you look unconvinced at my slightly overboard enthusiasm.
Er, yeah, just a bit.
Okay, so here’s how it works. First, you get to take a day off school. Oh, I see you’re listening now. Anyway, then you get up early so you can be at church around 6am. No, wait, keep listening, please?
No, I know that’s early. Hear me out. So you take the day off school. You get up early and be at church around 6am. We all pile with our stuff into cars and head to Lake Chelan. Probably stopping for some form of food along the way. We get to Lake Chelan and head to Field’s Point Landing. At that point, it’s controlled chaos, as it’s us and a gaggle of other high school students from all over the Northwest getting ready to load . We all pile onto the small ferry with our stuff. Then it’s about a two-hour ride up the lake to a dock. The boat dumps us on a dock where we meet a couple of old school buses. Then we load into them to drive up the mountain to the Village. The road looks kind of like this:
Er, do we have to do the whole boat thing? Why can’t we just drive?
Oh, I forgot that part! It’s because the boat and bus ride are the only way to get to Holden, unless you want to pop your stuff on your back and hike. Holden is completely off the grid: no roads, they make their own electricity, and there’s no cell service or internet.
It sounds like camping.
No, sorry, I forgot that too. Okay, anyway, so we get to the top of the mountain and there’s the Village. And we all get assigned to dorm rooms where we sleep in actual (reasonably comfortable) beds with actual sheets and cute homemade quilts. Everyone eats together in the dining hall, and the food is awesome (so awesome that they publish their own cookbook).
It sounds… rustic. What do we DO there?
It is rustic. But not necessarily in a way you’d notice. There’s still heat, running water, and showers. Just not a ton of technology. It’s a real town, with real people actually living there: about 60-70 year-round, and a lot more who come for the summer. There’s even a school, which has two classrooms: a kindergarten through 8th grade one and then Washington State’s smallest high school. (Which, incidentally, also functions as a boarding school for students who apply and are accepted.)
Thank you for the history lesson, teacher, but… What’s the deal with this weekend thing again?
Hah, sorry about that. Okay, anyway, so we get there, get our rooms, dump our stuff, and then get started. First with snacks, and then with programming. Programming doesn’t mean “classes,” necessarily. They’re smallish group sessions that give you a chance to do a little learning, some talking, and a lot of thinking and reflecting. Holden is a place where deep thinking just kind of happens. It’s in the air, or the food, or something. Anyway, so we do some of that, some of this. Lots of laughing. Some just plain hanging out. And spending time outside, and the outside is just AMAZING. There’s a lot of chance to connect with God over the course of the weekend, individually and with others. We’re there for about 48 hours before we get back on the buses and do the whole trip in the boat thing in reverse. We get back to CofC roughly 60 hours after we left… but you’re going to feel like it’s been a lot longer, because your physical, mental, and spiritual journey will have been a lot longer.
Wait, you said they haven’t done this in a few years, but you sound like you’re speaking from experience.
Yep! I went with the CofC group as a chaperone a decade or so ago. It was pretty awesome.
Okay, so I might be casually intrigued.
I’m going to hear that as “Please, Kristie, tell me more!”
So we’ll be going 5/28-5/30 (note: this is Memorial Day weekend). This means that you’ll miss one day of school. Cost is $205, which includes all transportation and food. Scholarships will be available if you need them; just talk to me sooner rather than later. Trust me, though, you’re going to want to go.
Hmm. Can I bring a friend?
Naturally! Same deal with cost, etc.
When do I have to decide by?
Email Kristie ASAP: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I really hope you can come! Because it’s going to be really really amazing!