I went on my last nationals trip the year after my sophomore year of high school. I was older and wiser and knew that I would be hanging by myself on the park evangelizing days. There was night we toured a boat before a meeting and on the boat some kid dropped a wrench on my foot and I was pissed. The youth pastor walked up to me and said that if I was going to have such a negative attitude that I needed to decide if I wanted to come anymore. I was pissed and hurt and several people tried to console me bur I just stormed off over 800 miles from home and eventually wandered back to my hotel room later that night when my roomates were returning as well. What I took from the interaction was that I could sneak off to burger king on Sunday mornings and the youth pastor wouldnt care. It wad obvious since I skateboarded and listened to secular music. Who knew that he didnt want want the truth about how he was treating me to come to light and hurt his job stability. I was basically given a free pass to ditch whenever I wanted. I still had friends there and decided to still show up on Wednesday nights.
This went on for another year maybe until a strange prayer request came up on Wednesday night. This kid who was probably from an abusive home said he was having trounle of thinking of women as sex objects. With my quick wit it was a fast pitch in the strike zone anf I replied:"What guy doesn't." At that point I was admonished and told if I felt that way I could leave. So I got up and walked out and never came back. Looking back my reaction was wrong but I think I was mad at the fact that you got special preference ther if you admitted sexual sin and his prayer request stunk of hypocrisy. One of the youth leaders came up to me as an adult and said they put that offer on the table all the time and I was the only one who took it.
Studying spiritual abuse many years later I realized that the leaders run off trouble makers in subtle ways. I held on to so much anger for so many years because I didnt have this knowledge. I always thought there was something wrong with me instead of turning the finger on them and calling them for the cult that they were. I was caught in between my hatred of that church and my parents desire to fit in there. I also think they had no idea how messed up the youth programs were there. As an adult there, you can choose who you do and dont associate with, but as a child you are stuck and I think the church knows that and wants to make good worker bees young to keep the system going.