GSAA Welcomes Guests for Interactive Campus Weekend

The first weekend in March found Gem State Adventist Academy staff and students welcoming guests for both Academy Day and a Youth Conference. Guests from seventh grade and up came to the campus for a full weekend of activities.

The Academy Day experience began with the option of spending the night in the dormitory. Samantha Schnell, GSAA head dean, along with her team, planned an interactive evening for those who wanted a taste of dorm life. Afterward, Schnell commented on what a great job the dorm students did while hosting their guests for the night.

Friday began with worship which included music led by GSAA’s student worship teams. It also happened to be the final day of Student Week of Prayer and featured Sean Rogers, GSAA junior and spiritual vice president of the student association, as the speaker.

After worship, guests rotated through six “intro” classes with GSAA teachers. That afternoon, everyone enjoyed activities like CO2 car races, SA games, ice-cream and more.

When Academy Day concluded, games, food and snacks from the Jag Wagon (GSAA’s ice-cream and snack truck) were provided for those staying to attend the Youth Conference.

Idaho's Youth Conference began several years ago in an effort to bring all Idaho Conference students, seventh grade and up, together for a weekend of interaction, fun, spiritual emphasis and service.

This year’s conference included four worship sessions with music led by a worship team comprised of recent GSAA alumni. Inspiring lessons were shared by Jeff Villegas, former Idaho Youth Director and current Ministerial Director of the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference.

A highlight of the weekend was the “Amazing Race,” on Sabbath afternoon. Following clues, the teams had to find their way to different stations around town where GSAA staff and friends provided them with their challenge. Each challenge was an outreach activity to be completed before acquiring the clue for the next location.

The weekend was organized in a progression of steps to bring students closer to God: “to know,” “to grow,” “to show” and “to go.”

The GSAA student leaders decided the overarching theme would be “Ready Player 1: Choose the Adventure.” The goal was to share the message that God can be relatable to anyone.

Through a skit, one group of students shared four episodes of a story featuring a “newbie” video game character who had to learn to trust the instruction manual. In the end, he realized that even when his creator wasn’t physically with him, he was only a thought (or in his case, the push of a button) away.

Although it was a busy weekend, GSAA staff felt it was a great success. Kailey Perez, campus ministries assistant, said, “All the feedback I heard from the kids was positive. Everyone seemed to really like the speaker and the activities.” Plans are already in the works for next year!


Marta Stone

Gem State Adventist Academy teacher and campus communications assistant