Respect Retreat: Sophomores Connect

First of Two Sophomore Retreats Goes Great


Photo by Sam Baumert

Sophomores gather for an activity during the retreat.

Nathan Fletcher, Staff Reporter

Sep. 26, 2017 – Today, the sophomore class took part in the first of two sophomore retreats. This retreat is the Respect Workshop, where students learn to respect, connect, and empathize with other students, teachers, and community members. It is “a chance to reflect on respect and what it means,” according to Retreat Leader Julia Lawler.

The retreat is put on by Youth Frontiers, an organization that travels to middle and high schools giving retreats on topics such as Kindness, Courage, and Respect. The retreat begins with blasting high-energy music and playing various games to break down social barriers among students. One such game is The Giant Human Chair, where students stand in a circle and squat onto each others’ knees. The goal of this activity is to visualize what it means to support each other as a sophomore class.

The students then break down into small groups to reflect on the first section of the retreat. Each senior leads a group of around 8 students in a brief discussion, then the groups come together to listen to the speakers. The speakers each share a brief story centered on respect, and challenge the students to live Respect in their lives.

“We were told about how important respecting people and yourself is, then we were informed how to implement it,” sophomore Matt McGrath said. After, Retreat Musician Preston Gunderson plays the students some original songs, as well as some covers, that relate to Respect. The students have a final small group discussion before gathering for the Sharing around the Campfire.

The Sharing around the Campfire is a section where students can feel free to share their feelings around a “campfire” bowl placed in the center of the room. This can be anything from “I learned a lot today” to “we’re all going to die someday.” Needless to say, emotions tend to run high at this point in the retreat. Students are encouraged to speak, but are not required to do so. “It was a great way to change perspective on how I interact with people every day,” sophomore Blake Manternach said.

“It was a really good day,” Gunderson said. The students not only learned about Respect, but made lasting connections with others. “It was awesome to see how much people can bond in a small amount of time,” Senior Leader Cal Strawhecker said. The retreat was an overwhelming success, and bodes well for the second sophomore retreat next semester.

Nathan Fletcher

Nathan became a member of The Flightline in August of 2017. He is a senior this year, involved in cross country, track, and drama, and can be found watching movies outside of school. You can email him at [email protected]