I wish I could say that church youth groups were a safe haven from gossip and cliques and all the other things that make high school so gross. But they weren’t and one of the most nerve wracking times in any youth group member’s experience was when you got divided up for the van ride to retreats. Right now you’re doubting me, but I promise you, waiting in that parking lot while they assigned seats was like getting ready to jump out of an airplane to skydive. If you got in the van with the dorky kids, the ones who played complicated card games and sang Jesus songs the whole way, camp was going to stink for you. That’s because teenagers will make a private joke out of anything so by the time you got where you were going, the other van kids would be saying stuff like, “Remember what Bill said at that gas station? That was awesome.” And you’d ask what he said, trying to distance yourself from your troop of losers and they’d say, “Oh never mind, you had to be there.” Or worse, they’d just say something like, “Polka dot radishes” and laugh. You’d want to laugh but you couldn’t because your van sang Veggie Tales songs the whole way (oh where is my hairbrush?) and there’s nothing funny about that.