As the summer comes to an end and school begins, the Freshman Retreat is an annual tradition that brings all the rising freshmen together to celebrate the beginning of their high school career. This year, the Freshman Retreat was held at Carolina Point Young Life Camp where the students went to church sessions, played fun games and swam.
Peer leaders bonded with their freshmen groups and grew closer as a peer “family.” This year, there are 26 peer leaders, making 13 couples, which are comprised of all seniors. Each couple mentors and spends time with a group of nine to ten freshmen throughout the year. The peer leaders had opportunities to be with their groups through games, group devotion time and meals throughout the retreat.
One game that is anticipated by many freshmen and the senior leaders is the shaving cream fight, where all the students get handfuls of shaving cream and attack their friends, classmates and even some of their teachers. Peer leader Kat Hughes said, “My favorite part about the Freshman Retreat was either the shaving cream fight or just getting to know my peer kids in general. I had been looking forward to the shaving cream fight for a while, and it was so much fun. The freshmen were super into it, and so were [the peer leaders].” Freshman Fletcher Morris said, “I loved how we could give our friends a big flop right in the face. It was very satisfying.”
Every day, there were church sessions led by the Wesleyan High School Worship Team and Pastor Glenn Campbell of God First City Church in Johannesburg, South Africa. After each session, Young Life Area Directors Alan Dixon and Hayden Copeland act out skits that made all the freshmen laugh.
Campbell introduced the Gospel in a genuine and relatable way during the sessions, talking about listening to what God has to say.
Dixon and Copeland acted out comedy skits during club, games and meals. Their enthusiasm and humor encouraged the freshmen to start coming to Wesleyan’s Young Life club on Monday nights. Freshman Lauren Markley said, “the [freshmen] retreat was so much fun, and it was really cool to visit a new Young Life camp since our past trips have been at Sharp Top Cove. I am looking forward to doing Young Life in high school because it’s a great way to have fun while staying strong in your faith.”
During the night sessions, Dixon and Copeland brought up a few of the teachers and peer group leaders on stage to join them in skits. Some of the skits included “Men with Shirts on their Heads,” “Dance Battles” and the iconic “Pass it Down.”
Apart from the freshmen activities, the senior work crew spent hours in the kitchen cooking, serving and cleaning for the freshmen, teachers and peer leaders. While they spent a lot of time doing serious work, the seniors brought energy to the dining hall by dressing up in different theme costumes like USA, pajamas, gangster, 80s/tacky prom and all denim. Senior Lily Rudder said, “I loved dressing up in all the themes because it made serving the freshmen fun. I’m not going to lie; work crew took a lot out of me, but I am so happy that I went and served all the new high schoolers.”
As the Freshmen Retreat concluded, it was the perfect way to kick off the 2017-18 school year. This retreat encouraged many freshmen to meet new people, step out of their comfort zone and grow closer to God.