“Rise Up” – The Senior Leadership Retreat
By: Kathy Habel
“This past summer, I was fortunate enough to attend the Peer Ministry Retreat with some of my classmates. Before the retreat started, I had no clue what I was in for but I can truly say it was a life changing experience. Whether it was partaking in team building exercises or designing our own prayer services, I have never felt closer with God. This retreat opened my eyes even wider to what God has in my life.” Colton Casper was just one of 22 seniors selected to be a Peer Ministers for school year, 2018-19. His words suggest that he is off to a great start in fulfilling the duties of a Peer Minister in this very special program.
The place was Craigville Retreat Center, in Centerville, on Cape Cod. In those hazy days of a summer’s August, seniors gathered with Campus Ministers David Gilpin and James Leonard to begin the “process of working together, building a sense of team and deepening their faith and love of God.” Through workshops on prayer life, role of the Peer Minister, and leading retreats and small groups, the seniors realized the depth of their responsibilities as ministers. To be recognized as a Peer Minister is special and is a highly sought position in the senior class. Initially, seniors can be swept up in the status when chosen, but the introduction to the year that begins with the Retreat, plants the Ministers feet back on the ground to begin the work of ministering to the school community.
The theme of this year’s retreat was “Rise Up”. Mr. Leonard shared that the theme suggests exactly what the expectation is of each and every senior: “to rise up in answering God’s call to serve.” Along with work, seniors were given plenty of time to play from rope courses to outdoor games, to communal meals and the usual fun of a sleep-over, a chaperoned sleepover, of course, as Ms Roach bunked in with the ladies.
MaryKate Clougherty, reflecting on the retreat, summed up perhaps what all seniors experienced. “The experience changed my life. I grew closer to my peers, closer to God and closer with myself. Throughout the retreat, we practiced our faith and leadership skills and how to lead others through their faith journeys. Our peer ministry class grew together through while finding ourselves as well. I discovered parts of myself that I have never been open to before and realized how important the role of faith is in my life. Those three days will be one of my greatest high school experiences and I couldn’t have asked for a better group to undergo this with as a Peer Minister.”