Last Saturday was the day of a retreat -it is a time where people calm down and learn how to become a better person and ways to become better leaders- at my church for the 8th graders. It was also the first retreat where I felt different and had bigger responsibilities, where people depended on me more that usual. My role at first was just to be a leader, to listen to the facilitators and follow their plans. Now, I was given the chance to become a facilitator myself and work with 8 other members. With the cooperation of all ten facilitators and the leaders, we held meetings every Saturday at 2:15 to prepare materials for the retreat. On the Friday before the retreat, all leaders and facilitators gathered in the gym at 5 pm to set up everything and finish all last minute work. Everyone stayed at the gym until 9 pm.
The next day came in the blink of an eye. It was the day of the retreat. The day where the other 8 facilitators and I take charge of the retreat for the first time. The 9 of us had no prior experience into handling the core of the retreat. Within the 9 people, there were four groups consisting of four different positions: coordinating, planning, activities, and TLC. Coordinating and planning worked hand-in-hand with each other -planning out rosters, schedule, and the groups for the leaders and students. Activities were the ones who planned out the decorations and the games for the retreat. TLC was the backbone; they were ones running things from behind the scenes making sure everything was set and ready.
By 8 o’clock am, the majority of the leaders had arrived and were ready to get the day started. *8:15* Kids start to pile into the gym after checking in their names and getting the names of the groups that they were assigned to. After the kids had signed in and got their group names, they can either chat with their leaders or grab some donuts in the adjacent room. *9:00* It is finally time for the retreat to start, so the MCs went out into the middle of the gym to officially begin the retreat.
Throughout the whole retreat, the students learned to open up to people that they can trust and they also learned what is a community. The students were able to hear from teenagers since they are able to relate to the teenagers more than they can to someone who is in their twenties. With two talks about community and what their roles were in the community, it opened up the minds of the students about what their role is in their community. Their role doesn’t have to be something grand rather it could be something small and it could still great an impact on the community.
Take this retreat for an example, the role of everyone at the retreat can either be big or small, but the presence of being there can already impact someone. Helping out a kid in math class or simply picking up the trash can lead to starting an organization of kids in need. Every little step that we as a community take can start a new life for ourselves or for others.