When my wife and I had the opportunity to purchase a small cabin near the lake,

we had hoped there would opportunities to share it with friends, family and our church youthgroups to allow each of them to experience the “joy” of 100-plus degree heat and the warmest water in which one could ever swim! So, when the volunteer youth leaders from our Church Congregation asked if would share the cabin, boat and our time for a group of 9 girls between the ages of 14-17, we were thrilled to say yes.

Over four days, with temperatures exceeding 105 degrees, the girls were able to swim, tube, wake board, water ski, knee board, river raft and hike up a river to a natural waterslide. Impromptu dance parties, late-night s’mores and the laughter and chatter of the girls filled the warm summer evenings—and the cabin—with energy and fun. 

It was inspiring to see these young people being pushed from their comfort zones and find that they were capable of more than they ever imagined! The level of encouragement and camaraderie between the girls was heartwarming as they always supported each other through both successes and failures.

A highlight of the trip included seeing the exuberance (and strength!) of youth as they climbed the 30-minute trek up a river bank with cold flowing water to a natural water slide. The rocks were a vibrant orange color, a remnant of the sulfur mines that used to function in the area.

The natural waterslide presented its own challenge as it required the girls to grab onto a wet, slippery rope and pull themselves up the rock wall in a maneuver that required strength and balance. All of the girls, and most of the adults, were able to accomplish the task and enjoy the exhilaration of a quick slide down the rock waterslide into a cold pool of water.

A favorite Proverb states, “A Joy that’s shared is a Joy made double.” That was certainly true for us as we shared with these young girls and their youth leaders. We received back more love than we ever imagined and are ready for the next time we can share some sun and fun with our family and all our and soon-to- be new friends!