Junior retreats open hearts and minds


Tona Rimpel

Juniors Adam Mrowiec and Preston Thomson share their musical talents during retreat. The first junior retreat occurred from Oct. 6 to 7.

The tears were flowing, and hands were constantly outstretched for guidance and support throughout the entire experience. Students gathered in the chapel and sat in a circle. They were vulnerable, but they decided to dedicate the retreat to someone and open up anyway, despite their fears.

The first two junior retreats of the year took place on Oct. 6-7 and Oct. 27-28. During the retreats, students were put into different groups for games and activities to try and bring them closer to God and to one another.

Campus Ministers Michelle Sullivan and Gary Meyerl ran the retreat.

“The campus ministers did a great job mixing fun with faith,” senior leader Kimbal Mackenzie said.

Both the juniors and the senior leaders went into the experience not knowing what to expect, but the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

“Sitting in a circle hearing students opening up and hearing their backstories was really special,” junior Eleanor Marindin said.

“The most memorable moment at retreats for me was seeing each junior stand up for his or her own beliefs and not being afraid of others judging them. We played a game that forced them to pick a side and defend that side, and I was amazed to see them all listen to each other’s opinions, while at the same time strongly defending their own,” senior leader Molly Exter said.

Sullivan and Meyerl agreed that the student talent show was one of the coolest things about the retreat. The talent show was an opportunity for students to share their God-given gifts to their classmates.

In another effort to facilitate bonding between the students, roommate assignments weren’t all student-selected, as in previous years. Students could request roommates, but otherwise they were chosen by the campus ministers.

“The best thing about the retreat was bonding with new people. I especially got closer with Conor O’Brien, and rooming with him was really fun,” junior Rob Flynn said.

“Meeting new people and being able to talk to everybody about whatever you wanted to talk about was really cool,” junior Nicholas Turnbull said.

“Both [Meyerl] and I have a talked about what works well for each group of students, and as the retreats progress, we change a few minor things to benefit each section, but the overall framework of the retreats seems to be working well,” Sullivan said.

The next retreat is Nov. 17-18 and the final junior retreat is Dec. 1-2.

Mike Moxley is a Multimedia Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.