As a Wesleyan tradition, before the start of the school year, the freshman class travels to Carolina Point, North Carolina to get to know their peer leaders and new classmates coming to Wesleyan. This year 26 peer parents, along with high school teachers, traveled with the biggest freshman class to help them make friends while also assuring them that the next four years at Wesleyan will be fun and exciting.
Some of the fun activities the class of 2022 and their peer parents got to do were paddle boarding, go carting, basketball and a big crowd favorite, field day. Freshman Gabby Oakes said, “My favorite thing on the Freshman Retreat was our grade wide shaving cream fight.” In addition to the grade wide activities, peer parents and peer kids enjoyed spending personal time with each other to talk and play games. Senior peer leader Chloe Hangartner said, “My favorite game to play with my peer kids was Psychiatrist.”
At the end of each day, the freshman class would gather at the clubhouse and the worship team would lead them in worship. Glenn Campbell was at the Freshman Retreat to speak God’s word and encourage everyone to continue or start their faith in Christ. Once Glenn would finish speaking, the freshmen got to enjoy skits acted out by their teachers and by their peer leaders. The freshman would also get a chance to participate with their peer groups to make a music video to a song and present it to their entire grade. Senior peer leader Liam Coxhead said, “One of my favorite activities we did was when we made up dances to songs during club time one night. It was so fun, and we really bonded as a group.”
An important part of what makes the Freshman Retreat so great is the work crew. This year, work crew was made up of 30 Seniors along with the two senior grade chairs, Mr. Stromie and Mrs. Morris. Seniors volunteered to lifeguard, cook, clean, and set up tables for more than 200 people. Work crew not only organized tables and washed dishes, but they also dressed into different themes to encourage the freshman class during the retreat. Some themes included were Denim, 70s/80s, and Hawaiian. Senior work crew member Kris Laurite said, “I learned what it is to wake up early and work hard, but if you’re surrounded by fun people anything can be fun.”
Overall, the Freshman Retreat is the most important event for peer leaders and freshmen. This retreat allows for new students to meet returning students and get a sense of what the community of Wesleyan is all about. Oakes said, “In the Christian aspect, I gained a closer relationship with God, along with this, I met new people and got closer with old friends.” Coxhead said, “I think it’s the most important because all the freshmen really bond as a class over the retreat. They allow God to enter into their grade and all become united through him.”
When asked what they are most excited to do with their peer kids this year, Hangartner said, “Get to know them personally and go on cool outings.” The Freshman Retreat is an unforgettable experience for freshmen and peer leaders and allowed everyone to have a great start into the school year.