The LuHi Retreat Experience
Retreats are one of the unique and valuable aspects of a LuHi education. When asked about their most memorable moments from their time at LuHi, alumni repeatedly reference the many retreats. You may be wondering – what exactly happens on a LuHi retreat, and what makes each retreat so special? Below, Vicar Adam Schoepflin, Mr. Tony Colangelo, and our Student Body President Gaurav break down the LuHi retreat sequence, and share some tips to get the most out of the experience.
1. What is the purpose of LuHi’s retreats? Vicar Schoepflin shared that the purpose of LuHi’s retreats is to develop relationships – between the students themselves, between the students and their teachers, and between the students and God. We take the students out of their regular routine, usually off campus, to foster an environment where these relationships can develop.
2. What makes each retreat unique? Each retreat has a broad theme, as well as a more specific focus. Mr. Colangelo broke down each retreat by theme and purpose.
- 6th grade – “We are…” This retreat features one day of team-building activities at a local retreat center, and a second day of activities and prayer that allows our youngest students to interact with LuHi seniors and each other. A special senior led-service welcomes them to our LuHi community.
- 7th grade – Students travel to Greenkill for team building combined with science exploration. Canoing, studying pond ecology, hiking and building new friendships are major aspects of this retreat experience.
- 8th grade – “The Journey Continues” a retreat inside of an end of middle school trip to Rocking Horse Ranch, also known as “The Dude Ranch”. A special devotion time allows students to speak to each other on how they saw God through their interactions in middle school.
- 9th grade – “The Ark” Using Genesis 6-10, students see how God is their ark in any stormy seasons. They discuss, share, and discover how others have been – and will continue to be – an ark for them, and how they can be an ark to others.
- 10th grade – “Be..all you can be” This retreat focuses on an introspective look and acknowledgment of how God sees us. Through challenge courses and relevant Gospel messages, students are asked to stretch themselves, and to see themselves through God’s eyes.
- 11th grade – “Becoming” This retreat is based on Jeremiah 29:11. It is held at the end of the Junior year, and it empowers the 11th grade students to become the new leaders of our community. Activities, games and a special candlelight service allow students to see how God has a plan for each of them.
- 12th grade – LuHi seniors take on a leadership role for many of the retreats, serving as facilitators and small group leaders. To wrap up their LuHi retreat experience, they come together in May for a Communion service and brunch. A new tradition of a candlelight Vespers service is also a shared experience for the entire class.
3. What are some tips for students as they prepare for a retreat? Both Gaurav and Vicar Schoepflin shared that students should come in with an open mind. LuHi retreats are probably different than anything you have experienced. Some of the activities are fun, some are challenging, some are serious, but all of them are designed to build relationships and teach us about God. Be ready to participate, and you’ll have a great time, and make some memories that will last a lifetime!
4. How do retreats support the mission and vision of LuHi? According to Vicar Schoepflin, one of the ways we educate students in “Body, Mind, and Spirit” is by making sure every student feels loved – by their peers, by their teachers, and by their God. Retreats are an excellent way to do this! He shared that it is wonderful to watch friendships being formed on retreats, and to see those friendships develop and grow throughout the year. For teachers, it is great to get to know students outside the classroom.
5. Any final thoughts to share on LuHi’s retreats? Mr. Colangelo says that students should be ready for an exciting great adventure and experience. Gaurav shared that the retreats present a nice balance between the spiritual aspect and having fun with classmates. He recommends students let their guard down, and really try to get the most out of the whole experience. Vicar Shoepflin agrees, and added that our retreat program is one of those things that is “uniquely LuHi.” He shared, “When I talk to graduating seniors or alumni about their fondest LuHi memories, so many of them mention the retreats. They’re part of what makes this place special!”