Breakaway is a three night youth retreat that happens every year at the Rockbridge Young Life Camp. Each day is filled with fun activities, fellowship, incredible talks from amazing speakers and much more. Ever since my first trip in 7th grade, I knew I had found something special. Not only is the group there some of the most encouraging, supportive, and positive people I know, but each year I go, I grow tremendously in my faith and learn amazing things I never would have realized on my own. The environment is so great, that I’ve even had friends fly back from places as far away as India just to reconnect with the people there and re experience those 3 nights. For the past 6 years, I have left each weekend refreshed, with new friends, and with a much better perspective. In all honesty, these past few months have been some of the hardest, most stressful of my life because of school on top of other reasons, and this past weekend really gave me the lift I needed.
Also, thank you to Nathan Mitchell Photography for letting me use a few of his images since I didn’t bring my camera to everything! Nathan was the lead photographer of the trip and did an amazing job!
The bus ride there is always so much fun. Energy is high as everyone is excited for the coming weekend.
Part of the reason why I find Breakaway so relaxing is because of how different and far away I am from D.C.. There’s just something calming about being in the mountains and away from everything.
Every year, I over pack so so much. I honestly think I had one of the biggest suitcases out of everyone there this year, but I don’t even mind because half of my suitcase was filled with dress up clothes and spirit wear. For each mealtime, there is an assigned theme, and as a senior, I made sure to go all out.
On the last night, all of the seniors walk down the dining halls in “Gatsby” clothes:
After everyone dresses up, we all gather outside the dining hall and wait until they open the doors. The food is AMAZING. And once everyone walks in, music is blasting and everyone is dancing to their seats.
After each mealtime, we all go to the spring center where we wait for the amazing band Melodime to play, the speaker to talk, and for the storyline of this year’s Breakaway skits to continue. There’s always a good 10-15 minutes that all 400 of us wait before being let into the room, and the energy is SO high.
Melodime has sung at each Breakaway for the past years. Singing along with them is amazing, and I can’t imagine Breakaway without them.
Each Breakaway has a different theme, and the skits always correspond with that theme. They always lightens up the mood before and after serious, but amazing talks.
Before any talks happen, there are also always a few really entertaining, abstract games where they call people on stage to play in front of everyone.
This one consisted of people sling shotting cupcakes at the person on the stage…
One of them ended up on the screen and remained there for the rest of our hour there, which ended up being pretty funny because whenever a face came across the screen, the cupcake made it look like he/she was missing a tooth.
This game was a creative, and very different form of musical chairs where contestants were blindfolded and had to try to find the chairs. The people running the game would carry around boxes/chair things and would place them in random spots when the music ended and everyone on stage would race to sit there first. It was so so funny. People were falling on top of each other and working their way into totally wrong directions. One guy kept on gravitating to the speakers and all the band’s expensive equipment and knocking it all down.
We also played a lot of really fun games outside. In the one below, we had to take off other people’s socks. This game probably sounds so weird, but it was probably a highlight of my entire weekend.
We had to take this game to the gym because it was SO cold! In this one we had different teams and were trying to shoot the other team with finger slingshots. A lot of these games probably sound silly and childish, but I think it’s good to not take yourself so seriously all the time and just let your guard down.
I LOVED the speaker this year, Pat Goodman. He spoke with so much care and passion, and really gave me new perspectives on a lot of different things.
After morning talks, we would have free time to do anything we wanted. People would go to the hot tub, cafe, gym to play 9 square or basketball, fields to play soccer or volleyball, do the ropes course, hike, or just hang out and take a nap in their rooms.
Juniors and seniors had powderpuff on the first day of free time, instead of the scheduled second since it was supposed to be below zero with windchill the next day. It was so much fun, and as an added bonus, the seniors ended up winning!
Our senior “maleleaders” – male cheerleaders.
This was our reaction right after my friend Natali and I got pulled off to sidelines after running straight into each other on the field. We were on the same team running towards the girl who had the ball and literally smacked and tumbled over each other. Apparently, it was pretty funny.
Another fun activity during free time is “the screamer”, a tradition ever since my first Breakaway. The wait time for the lines are LONG (like anywhere from 30 min-1 hour) especially in negative degree weather, but it is so worth it. It’s basically this really really high swing that you get harnessed into, and it’s one of the main things I look forward to every year. This year, my friend and I got there 30 minutes before it opened so that we could be first in line.
Another amazing part of Breakaway is the talent show at the end of the first night. After the evening talk and our cabin times (where we open up and share our thoughts with our cabin members), we all return back to the Spring Center for the talent show. Everyone who makes tryouts and performs that night is incredibly talented.
Katya is in my youth group and is an AMAZING singer/songwriter. She literally has one of the most gorgeous voices I’ve heard. Check out the song she wrote and performed at the talent show here. (This video doesn’t do her voice justice at all. Plus, the first part is cut off because I was busy snapping a few photos of her!)
On the last evening, after our last talk of the weekend, we all go back to the Spring Center where the skits are resolved and wrapped up. Then, music is blasted and everyone goes up on the stage and just dances for the rest of the night. It’s so much fun, especially because no one cares what they look like.
The day we leave is always a little sad, but the snow cheered everyone up a little.
Before we head to the buses, we all have one last meeting in the Spring Center, and Jim (our amazing youth pastor) gives us a chance to stand up and share how God has worked in our lives this weekend or anything else in general. It’s amazing how brave some people are to be able to completely open up in front of 400 people they don’t know and share some extremely personal things.
It’s weird knowing that I’m never going to another Breakaway again, but I’m thankful for the memories and friends it has given me over the last 6 years. Here’s a video recap of the first two days!