Prayer, Bonding, and More at the Junior Retreat


Photo by Caroline Bloodgood

A group of juniors posing outside at the end of the retreat.

Due to the mystery of what happens and the raving reviews of the upperclassmen, many LOTAs anticipate the retreats that they will experience in their junior and senior years. Juniors participated in their annual overnight retreat at the Clagett Center on October 10-11.

Peer Ministers, members of the Peer Ministry class and retreat leaders, worked hard to prepare for the event. At the retreat, students are placed in random groups led by the Peer Ministers.

Junior Kyra King mentioned, “At first I was a little apprehensive about how it would turn out being in a randomly assigned group, but since everyone was placed outside of their comfort zone, it automatically made you comfortable with the people you were with. It wasn’t just you, everyone was in the same position, and I think that forced us  to rely on each other, which was really nice.”

This year, the juniors were very pleased with how the retreat turned out. King expressed, “I think it was really successful. Everyone got a chance to bond with people inside of their groups and outside of their groups. It was just a really great environment.”

Junior Kayla Conroy agreed, “Everyone was open-minded and I got to talk to people I’ve never really talked to before.”

While this retreat was only one night, the schedule was jam-packed. Linda Ruszkowski, head of Campus Ministry, listed the activities, “There are talks given by senior leaders, small group discussions, there is a ropes course element, an opportunity for reconciliation, and there’s Mass.”

A recurring activity on the retreat was small group discussions. Conroy mentioned, “My favorite part was talking in my group and getting to bond with them because we were staying in the same building.”

During the first day, groups took turns on ropes courses including zip lining and rock climbing on a wall. King said, “The ropes course was the most entertaining part for me.”

Ruskowski expressed, “My favorite part of junior retreat is seeing the girls come back from it. There’s something that shifts in the class, maybe a sense of sisterhood or a shared experience.” She continued, “I think that it is really cool to see how our girls grow in empathy from the retreat. Having that awareness that everyone is fighting a battle in their life that you might not know about is a really cool shift.”

All of the retreats are meant to be fun and to bond with others in their class. For the junior retreat, Ruskowski said the main goal is “For people to step back, take a look at who they are, who God is in their life, how they are stronger when they come together as a class, or through friendships.”

King shared advice for future juniors going on the retreat. She said, “I think it is really important to allow yourself to enjoy it. Embrace it.”