Swamp Blog

H@TS: A Retreat to Relive

Cory Cole


In 2010, Holidays at The Swamp, also known as H@TS, was the first retreat on the campgrounds where campers came to celebrate the holidays at one of their favorite places in the world! Middle schoolers and teens from all over Georgia and the Southeast have the opportunity to come spend time with each other, get to know God, and ring in the New Year, The Swamp style! And now, five years after the inaugural H@TS retreat, new and experienced campers and counselors continue to partake in The Swamp holiday festivities, such as inspiring Bible classes, a semi-formal date night, and a killer dance party!

Here's what Aj Consonery had to say about his first experience at the retreat this year:

"Going to H@TS was an amazing experience that I hope to literally relive many many more times. The spiritual and joyful vibe that I received was the best feeling I've had in a while. To put it in simpler terms, I wish everyone could go to The Swamp! Being able to welcome in the new year with other people fighting the righteous fight just like me is very encouraging. I can't wait to go back again soon!"
...
Grant, Aj, Jordan, and Paul chilling on the front porch
...David and Nick's morning quiet time!

The Swamp is a place where kids can feel safe physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, and that is something that remains constant whether it is summer camp, or a four-day retreat! At H@TS, campers were able to reflect and refocus before starting the new year.

One very unique activity that stands out from other Swamp retreats is the semi-formal date night where the guys have the chance to righteously encourage the girls. That was 13-year-old Ellis Distin's favorite part about the retreat:

...
It was really great to be able to see the guys step up and really encourage the girls, tell them how pretty they are and how amazing they are in God’s eyes.

Ellis is no stranger of The Swamp, but this was also his first time attending H@TS! Here's what struck him most during the four-day retreat:

"Something I'll take home from the retreat is that I don’t need to hide my spirituality. Even though I am only thirteen, I am still able to share my faith with others and help them get through their troubles. In turn, it will help me grow in my faith.
...Chad and Ellis!
Especially when you have amazing counselors, like Chad Mathis, they can really relate to you and your situation, even though they may seem like they are 'perfect' disciples theres a lot more to them they what you can see on the outside. They go through struggles as well."

Thanks for sharing, Ellis! It is so encouraging to hear how campers, no matter what age, can feel impacted or inspired in some way when leaving The Swamp, whether emotionally or spiritually. H@TS was an amazing time to reconnect with camp buddies or making new friends, as well as prepare and refocus for the New Year. What a way to start 2016!

I want to give a special shout out to our new camp photographer, Matt Long! H@TS was his first time officially snapping pics during a camp session, and he did a fantastic job! Can't wait to see how God will work through Matt to help better The Swamp! Click here to check out all The Swamp pictures from over the years!

Thank for reading! Until next week,

CORY

Read “Why We Weren't Ready to Leave Nicaragua” next

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H@TS
Dec. 29-Jan. 1

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