There’s a distinct sound a metal washer makes when it’s tossed onto plywood, and that sound was on a consistent loop all day last Saturday as a part of the Washer Pitching Tournament. It’s a central part of the annual Family Camp for First Presbyterian in Trenton, which celebrated 40 consecutive years at NaCoMe last weekend (congrats you guys!). Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of activities going on (for proof, you can watch their pastor Paul take on the Giant Swing on our Instagram and Facebook pages), but the Washer Pitching Tournament kept coming back to me.
If you had told me that the place filled with the rhythmic loud clap of metal meeting wood was going to be the central gathering spot, I would have thought you were crazy. The brick patio at the Dale Building, surrounded by the stone walls, is the ideal arena for tossing these thick metal washers in a cornhole/beanbag-style tournament. I just wouldn’t think it would be the ideal spot for gathering as well. But that’s where at any given hour, you could find almost half the group. Some playing, some sitting and watching, and others just chatting as the “clank, clank, clank” dotted the gaps in their conversations.
And while a bit counter-intuitive, it was another example of a timeless truth for group retreats: they build community. For this group, the Washer Pitching Tournament (in addition to the Giant Swing, Zipline, Archery, and all the other things they did), was a chance to engage on a deeper level than they normally would on Sunday mornings. Members of different ages, genders, Sunday School classes, and even those who sit in distant pews were sharing together. The friendly competition was the (loud) backdrop to a church community growing together. And that’s what retreats are all about.
Whether it’s a church family, a men’s or women’s group, a sports team, a college or school group, or a corporate event, the retreat experience is an incredible chance to build community outside of the normal routine. Moving away from the noise and distraction of the daily grind, people find something special here at NaCoMe. If you’re looking for a chance to form deeper bonds, to build a stronger community with a group you’re a part of, get in touch. We’d love to work with you to schedule and plan your next retreat… no matter how loud you’re going to be.
-Ryan "Flash" Moore, Director