Before Discovery Camp, it'd been a really long time since I attended a retreat as a participant. For years, I had been a leader in BLD and had begun taking on a few leadership roles in YFL. In all the years I had been leading, I led the same retreats over and over again, gave the same talks, and helped different people but with the same problems. I could pretty much give you a whole retreat from memory. Though I felt I was able to help direct many youth to a higher spiritual level, I felt that I had no direction myself. I had been stuck, unable to climb the wall to the next level of my own spiritual journey. I thought I had learned pretty much all that there was to learn. After all, I had been in two different communities, yet the lessons I learned from one were repeated almost verbatim in the other. I thought Discovery Camp would be all the same, but it wasn't.
Discovery Camp was so completely different from any retreat I've ever taken. For starters, we had a lot of freedom to do whatever we wanted to do with our free time; and there was plenty of free time. But that wasn't really what made this retreat different. What made this retreat different was the content. Now, I've taken singles retreats in BLD and I've attended CLS probably 3 different times (because for some reason, I can't ever finish one). All of the information was the same. Every retreat I'd been to was filled with talks and sharings from other people about what it was like before and after they found God, accepted Jesus, and became filled with the Holy Spirit. During those retreats, the message was "God is with you during your big struggle." That's a good message to take away, but I'm past that really big struggle. Every day, I deal with little things - different things - that I never had to face as a youth.
None of the past retreats I've participated in or led has helped me deal with college, careers, or the possibility of marriage. I've never analyzed my purpose, pleasure, and pain so much. I've never done any of these things. But after attending Discovery Camp, I wished I had done them 5 years ago when I first got to the University of Washington. These are the things that are on my mind now, as a college student trying to figure out what I'm going to do for the rest of my life. I never had a plan going into college. It took me five years - Discovery Camp - to even begin thinking about planning. It took me five years to realize that that plan is the most important thing I need to set in becoming who and what I want to be. All of the past retreats I took helped to shape who I am today. But Discovery Camp helped me shape the man I'm going to be.