Care for a dip in the North Sea? LCA’s 2018 trip to Scotland

Posted on 03. May, 2018 by in Christian school in Santa Monica, LCA News, Scotland trip

By Justin Berry, LCA junior —

Who’s afraid of freezing?

Spencer Neos is not.

Spencer rallied the other guys on our Scotland trip to take a dip in the North Sea, which registered at 46 degrees Farenheit. Afterwards, there was a wind chill.

Not too many of the junior and senior boys from Lighthouse Christian Academy were up for the challenge. But Spencer wasn’t passing up on the biannual chance to prove his manhood. This is something of a rite of passage at Lighthouse. Principal Jack Mefford has done it. The football team guys usually do it.

north sea swim

Spencer shows the face of pain after his swim in the North Sea.

But the 2018 boys demurred.

Spencer cajoled them.

Spencer — who studies in an LCA-related school in Hesperia and is the son of the former principal — fully submerged.

There was a nurse on hand. I’m not a medical professional. But as far as I could tell, he very nearly initiated hypothermia.

“Those unsmart guys,” said the ever-sardonic Josh Young, our incoming principal who was on his first trip to Scotland (wisdom comes with age). “They’re thrill seekers, but it’s a thrill that I don’t need to experience. You could not pay me enough money to get in that water.”

Howon, from Korea, liked the cold water (but he didn't fully submerge).

Howon, from Korea, liked the cold water (but he didn’t fully submerge).

You need to see the video to get their reactions as they come out of the water.

I was one of the chickens smart guys who opted out of the self-torture icy swim.

Just watching these reckless kids suffer for proving their machismo will make you shiver.

But fortunately, Josh Young’s passionate kiss to his wife will warm you back up.

school trip to londonThis year’s trip wasn’t highly attended by LCA students, only seven. In years past, it’s been a highlight. Where else are you going to find such a bargain? From April 4 to 14 for $1,400, LCA students toured London and Scotland. (Some students had volleyball, visa problems and other lame excuses.)

LCA bundles rates for cheaper fares, lodges with friends and saves on tour guides. Rob Scribner, the senior pastor who presides over all Lighthouse operations, is the history buff who explains the site of the Declaration of Arbroath and battle scenes of the Scots resisting English subjugation. Yes, that’s Robert Bruce, named after “Robert the Bruce” of Scottish resistance. We couldn’t have gotten better historical explanation out of Braveheart.

Spencer was one of the four outsiders joining our trip. His father, George Neos, was principal of the Lighthouse Christian Academy from 1998 to 2008. After his stint in Santa Monica, he heeded the call to take over the Hesperia Lighthouse Church, where he is founding a charter school, University Careers & Sports Academy, of the High Desert. Spencer and his two younger brothers and one cousin were the add-ons.

a tramp through scotlandWhy did Spencer catalyze insanity dive into the North Seas and encourage others to follow his lead?

“Sometimes in life, a person does things that are unexpected. I did it because it was there,” Spencer texted. “I did it because it was a challenge. I did it just because I could. Some may ask, ‘What did you get out of it?’ I would reply, ‘Nothing. Just the satisfaction of seeing a challenge and vanquishing it.’ I don’t regret it.”

Judge for yourself from the video.

christianity in scotland“It was freezing,” Spencer continued. “It was windy and my body went completely numb. It was the coldest thing I’ve ever experienced. Great explorers and men have endured much worse for just about the same reason I did: It was there.”

Spencer also brought a football (American football) everywhere he went. People didn’t know what it was. Of course, “football” in England and Scotland mean soccer. Those countries also have rugby, which uses an oblongish ball, and people thought his football was a weird rugby ball.

school trip scotland england“Football is life for me,” Spencer said. “I will always be a Christian and a family person before anything else. But before school, before fun, before sleep, I am football. It’s my passion. I go to school to play football. My college plan is based off my desire to play and coach football in the future. I love the values that football teaches and encourages because those are the values that made America great.”

Spencer’s dad played for Dartmouth University and coached college ball before becoming LCA’s principal. He raised the Saints’ football program to two state runner ups.

The author, Justin Berry, in London.

The author, Justin Berry, in London.

In six days in London, we visited a bunch of museums. It was non-stop. We had no chance for sleep because we got on subways. We saw Big Ben, London Bridge, Westminister’s Abbey  and the Queen’s palace.

I learned that Londoners’ lemonade is really different; it comes with carbonation. I also found out that their candy was terrible, poor selection. They called French fries “chips” and chips “crisps.” Elevators are “lifts.” I liked their fries. There’s nothing else good to eat over there, so that made them seem like the best.

rob scribner tours scotland england with lca

Pastor Rob Scribner, history buff and guide.

I really enjoyed the opera — at least until my legs cramped because I’m 6’2″ and I didn’t fit in the small chairs. We saw Les Miserables.

We stayed in six different places, hotels and hostels. I liked the hostels because there was no technology and we had to talk more. I got closer to the Neos and everybody else on the trip. We stayed in a 3-star hotel that was really nice. Everything was elegant.

what westside school trip to england scotland

Jessica Young, wife to incoming principal Josh, and art teacher at LCA, was a bit worried about crossing the “creek.”

In Scotland we got lost one day trying to make a shortcut back to the hostel. We got lost three hours. We had to cross a large creek. Some people fell in ankle deep, but I totally submerged up to the waist. It was cold and rainy, and I kept slipping in the mud. It was a lot of fun because it seemed like we were actually in danger. A little of jeopardy to get us excited. They had a room to heat and dry your clothes, but instead of putting my clothes in there, I walked in to warm up and dry out.

That night I warmed my belly with mashed potatoes, beef, vegetables.

In Scotland, we saw a bunch of castles. We saw Sterling Castle where William Wallace defeated an English army on the bridge.

We saw guys in skirts who played bagpipes. Pastor Rob put on a kilt; he’s Scottish. We chased sheep around, and all those football players couldn’t tackle even one sheep.

At the site of the declaration of Arbroath

At the site of the declaration of Arbroath

We climbed a hill simply because they told us we couldn’t. We shouted when we got to the top. We were hyped. It was tiring.

The highlight of the trip Potter’s House Church in South London. We marched around the city with 300 church members and proclaimed the neighborhood for Jesus. It was the most I’ve ever seen on outreach. I learned what it means to be on fire for God.

The historical monuments made me appreciate history. History is how I got to America and what formed our culture and thinking.

My buddy Zach Catalano wrote about how Scotland helped him overcome the pain of his mother’s passing.




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One Response to “Care for a dip in the North Sea? LCA’s 2018 trip to Scotland”

  1. […] If you want to read more about our Scotland trip, my friend Justin wrote about our adventures, including our swim in the freezing cold North Sea. […]

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