Destin

The Awkwardness of Beach Olympics

We’re gonna let you in on a little secret that happens during opening weekend at Emerge. Being that this is only my first year being involved with Emerge, I’m not sure what the first few opening weekends looked like, but I know that Beach Olympics is by far one of the most awkward things they make you do while being here. Approximately forty eight hours after you moved into Emerge, the lead team and Emerge staff drag you to the beach, split you into teams, and make you play awkward games against each other. I could try and explain everything that happened that day, but I think these pictures and comments from the Vineyard class say it all. 

I had to tie myself to Ben. Our bodies were touching. We fell and our bodies stuck together...we had to peel ourselves apart. And the sand. The sand got between the bands and our ankles and it really hurt. - Logan Pilcher

I had to tie myself to Ben. Our bodies were touching. We fell and our bodies stuck together...we had to peel ourselves apart. And the sand. The sand got between the bands and our ankles and it really hurt. - Logan Pilcher

I was really excited about it! We got to do a lot of shoulder to shoulder activities and that’s what I’m all about. - Michelle Thompson

I was really excited about it! We got to do a lot of shoulder to shoulder activities and that’s what I’m all about. - Michelle Thompson

My quitting moment was that first opening weekend. Beach Olympics definitely raised the awkwardness by like, a million. I try not to think about that weekend. - Zach Brown    I thought, "If this is what Emerge is going to be like, I’ve made a huge mistake." - Kelly Phillipson

My quitting moment was that first opening weekend. Beach Olympics definitely raised the awkwardness by like, a million. I try not to think about that weekend. - Zach Brown

I thought, "If this is what Emerge is going to be like, I’ve made a huge mistake." - Kelly Phillipson

The team building was so awesome. - Ryan Doonan

The team building was so awesome. - Ryan Doonan

My favorite part was having our feet tied together. Once I stepped forward and almost landed a perfect split...I thought, "This is what the next few months of my life are going to look like. God was going to be stretching me in different directions." John 21:18 came to mind.   "  Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go." -   Meghan Munsch

My favorite part was having our feet tied together. Once I stepped forward and almost landed a perfect split...I thought, "This is what the next few months of my life are going to look like. God was going to be stretching me in different directions." John 21:18 came to mind. "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go." - Meghan Munsch

To get a better understanding of why we have to endure so much awkwardness in one event, we asked some of the lead team what their thoughts on the olympics were. Here’s what we got:

The Beach Olympics are one of my favorite things we do opening weekend. It's a time where students begin to open up and we get to see their personality. Students are stretched to get out of their shell and work together as a team. I'd say just watching the interns who you thought were quiet get really competitive is always hilarious. I also love to watch the interns who aren't from Destin enjoy the beautiful beach. I love watching everyone have fun and make awesome memories! - Shannon Kanaday

The best thing about the Beach Olympics is that I get a chance to see how all of the new students interact together. It's an instant way to see personalities and attitudes. I get to see how the students will handle pressure under stress, and how they work together with other students. My favorite moment at the Beach Olympics day is when we all relax in the water afterwards and talk about the events . I get to witness the students becoming friends for the first time. To me the Beach Olympics is never awkward, it's always an incredible tool to help build community and relationships at Emerge. The crazy games and awkward challenges create funny memories that we all share, there's something about doing something ridiculous with a group of people that brings you close together. You can learn a lot about a person when you see them win or lose. Students can't help but show their true colors when they lose the Sandcastle challenge. It helps us all learn how we can interact better with each other and places we can encourage the students to be growing in over the next year. - Pastor Matt Ruckel

The Beach Olympics, even with all the awkwardness, really is a great way to get everyone out of their comfort-zones and working together. Does that change that fact that it’s still an awkward event? No, not at all. I think most of us agree that it was one of the most traumatizing things we've done at Emerge. Would we do it again? Absolutely. Because we had so many hilarious moments and formed such an amazing bond. So be ready future classes. You’ll get to enjoy this awkward day, too!

Four Things You Should Know About Living In Destin

Welcome to our Windows series! This is going to be a spontaneous series that highlights the little things that make up life at Emerge Leadership Academy. Wether it be our daily routines, our city, our church, or the many misadventures that have happened since we started, we hope this series will make you feel like you genuinely know the people behind the Emerge program. So enjoy this series, especially Kelly's great article about what you should know before moving to Destin!

 

There are so many great reasons for someone to come to Emerge Leadership Academy. The classes, ministry opportunities, and relationships alone make for a life changing experience; but the fact that all of this happens in picturesque Destin, Florida, definitely doesn’t hurt! Destin is a laid back beach community that bustles with chaos and busy tourists. It has all the charm and hospitality you’d expect from a southern town, but manages to have high end shopping and restaurants that draw in people from all over the country. Destin is a pretty unique place, making it the perfect setting for a unique program like Emerge. So if you’re interested in coming to Emerge, here are a few things you should know about living in Destin.

 

1. The weather is unpredictable.

            It’s no wonder why people like to vacation in Destin, or anywhere in Florida for that matter. The beaches are warm and there’s always a nice breeze coming in from the water; but it can change in an instant. At any moment there could be a thunderstorm. It might only last for a few minutes; or it might stick around for the rest of the week, leaving the entire town partially underwater. But rain or shine, there’s one thing you can always count on here in Destin: humidity!

2. The traffic is also unpredictable.

            The only thing that might be as temperamental as the weather in Destin is the traffic in Destin. This could be because of the tourists. (By the way, tourists are a real thing and for some reason they cause traffic to move super slow. No one really knows why.) It also could be because of good ole’ Highway 98. It’s basically the only road in town, and you have to drive on it to get just about anywhere. That means if there’s a wreck anywhere on 98, the whole thing gets backed up. What usually would be a five minute drive could easily become thirty. On the bright side, at least there’s pretty scenery to look at while you’re sitting in the car!

3. You might not go to the beach as much as you expected.

The beaches in the Destin area are some of the most beautiful in the world. The sand is sugar-white and the water is clear and calm. The beach is also easily accessible. It’s within walking distance from the Emerge campus. You’ll want to spend all your time there. However, you’ll find that living close to the beach is not the same as visiting or vacationing. Emerge, and life in general, will keep you busy. You might not make it to the beach as often as you hoped; but it makes visits to the beach that much more special and refreshing. So, take advantage of the beach being close by, but don’t be disappointed when you can’t make it there every day.

4. We don’t actually live in Destin.

            Yes, it’s true! Emerge is actually in Miramar Beach. It’s right next to Destin, but as far as most people around here are concerned, it’s all basically the same thing. This can get confusing when it comes to mailing addresses and such. That’s really the only time it even matters. Occasionally you may run into some locals who are very particular about specifying which town is which, but for the most part, everything in the region is considered “Destin.” At the end of the day, no matter what town we technically live in, it won’t take long for the Emerald Coast to start to feel like home.

Ok, so I've been a little hard on the Destin area, but seriously, this place is home. It's a beautiful town and we're incredibly blessed to be able to live in most people's vacation spot. Wether you're an out-of-towner or are near the Gulf Coast, you'll fall in love with Destin during Emerge!

- Kelly Phillipson