Monday, June 7, 2010

New Orleans 1992

In my decluttering efforts, I ran across a videotape made by our church when our youth group attended the National LCMS Youth Gathering in New Orleans in 1992. I had just graduated from high school and I went with the youth from my church before I started college. The videotape was about 1/2 a hour long. It was just some shots of going to Six Flags on the way there, some of the "church" services and activities we did there, and some of the sightseeing we did. I was one of the oldest ones in my group as I had not attended the Denver youth gathering (was that in 1989?) and most of my classmates had attended that one and only went once. On this trip to New Orleans I became better friends with my friend Kristy who eventually was one of my bridesmaids. My dad was the vacancy pastor at a small church outside of my hometown. About 5 of their youth plus a chaperone came with our large church. I enjoyed having them as part of our group.

The videotape-I wasn't smiling in very many of the shots of me. Our group was large-almost 50 of us on a bus with a few chaperones. This was frustrating because it was so many people to keep track of-it seemed like we waited to get the group going more than we actually went and did anything. Also, the conservative LCMS in me hated the actual youth gathering. Especially when a pastor came to our section during the communion service and winked at me and said, "Hey ladies, you get to give each other communion today for once!" And I could tell from the videotape that even then we all thought a lot of the planned events were dumb. 18 years later they are even more ridiculous! Our group had good chaperones and as far as I know we all behaved. But we heard horror stories about what other LCMS youth did at the hotels while we were there. I think 20,000 youth is just too many. I did enjoy the sightseeing and being with friends so the time wasn't totally wasted. But I enjoyed going to New Orleans with the CUW Wind Ensemble a few years later much more than this trip.

I am so thankful that my Lambs will have a chance to do Higher Things Youth Gatherings. I would forbid my Lambs to ever participate in something like what I attended in 1992. I don't think our Lambs even will have a desire to go with 20,000 other Lutherans-it's just too big for them after living in a town of 113. I think of how much money we had to raise to go to the National Youth Gathering-it was a lot of car washes, taking donations, and other fundraisers plus a lot of our own money. I think of how much it cost for LCMS to run the youth gathering. Since there wasn't Higher Things yet, I think I would have preferred to go with my family to some place like New Orleans and do our own sightseeing and go to a good LCMS church if we were there on a Sunday.

Did any of you readers attend a National Youth Gathering? Do any of your churches still attend the National Youth Gathering?


Joelle said...

Sorry you had such a bad experience at the NYG. 1992 was the first year I went also. I think it probably helps to have a small group. We only had 7 youth and 2 chaperones. I really enjoyed the "Who dat" speaker. I think his name was Tom something. My faith grew a lot during that gathering. I went to the next one in San Antonio (1995). We had 9 youth that time and 2 chaperones again. I didn't like the speakers nearly as much, but there were morning Bible studies that were really good. Then I went twice as a chaperone when I was in Idaho Falls. The first time (Atlanta - 1998) there were 4 youth and me. I really enjoyed both the speakers and the Bible studies. Our current DCE was one of the actors in the daily Bible study. Then I went to New Orleans again in 2001 (about a month before 9/11 - that would not have been fun to have been stuck there with tons of kids!!). We went with the other LCMS church - so there was a bigger group - 3 chaperones and maybe 15 youth? I enjoyed some of the speakers here, but not the Bible study as much. It was kind of a weird story line (they combine a modern day story with youth actors with a Bible story).

Sorry that you had such a bad experience there. They are useful/valuable times for many youth. Someone at college was really affected by the first New Orleans trip - he had been battling a drug addiction and it helped turn him around.

Our church is going this year. I think they have about 15 youth and 4 chaperones.

Dakotapam said...

I went to the NYG in WAshington DC, the time before Denver. It was OK. In my opinion I did OK there since I grew up outside of San Francisco and was familiar and comfortable with public transportation etc. I think more was made out of the number of people there than anything else. Like" there are xyz number of youth here, isn't that great?"

Dh has been on two NYGs now as a pastor, it is a lot of sitting around and waiting now, waiting for shuttles, waiting for good seats etc. And really, the draw for NYGs in the past was going to a new city and seeing the sights, but now that they just rotate between two cities, that appeal is gone. Add in the HUGE expense and questionable theology, it has no appeal here. This year Andrew could go to Higher Things, but he'd be on the young end, and he has two different week long scout events, Camp in MInnesota and a Boundary Waters trip.

Kenneth said...

You'll have to bring that video the next time I see you. I don't remember much of anything except jambalaya and beneits (sp?). Oh, yeah and all those Superbowl subs we sold!