Each year our freshman students start the year off with some class bonding during the freshmen retreat. It's a great way to start the year, form new friendships, and learn what it means to be a LuHi Lion. Since our freshmen recently just got back from their retreat, we thought we would break down the importance of it here!
The goal of the retreat is twofold: Jesus and friendships. Freshmen retreat leader Mr. Schlecht shares, "The students hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ loud and clear. They hear the importance of placing their value and worth in Jesus, not in their athletic ability, grades, musical talent, artistic ability, appearance, or popularity. This message is vital as they start high school."
Recently, we started splitting the retreat into boys' and girls' days. This way, they get to hear messages specific to them and relieve some of the pressure to impress your future homecoming date. After all, the point is to be yourself and focus on Jesus and what he has done.
The guys hear what it means and looks like to be a man of God and not a boy. Director of Campus Ministry Mr. Kohlwey shares the role God has given men to provide and protect. It's key for young men to hear. He talks about the importance of responsibility, leadership, providing, and protecting. He does an incredible job setting the tone for the year.
The young women hear the importance of placing their value in Christ and how He has made them and sees them. Dean of Women Mrs. Kidston shares they are not defined by their body shape or size, their image, what others think of them, or what they think of themselves. They're defined by the love Jesus has for them and how God has made them.
Both of these messages are so important culturally; students will know what it looks like and what it means to be a student at Lutheran.
Senior leaders come on the retreat to reinforce the cultural foundation. Senior leader Ben Sparling shares, "Freshmen Retreat is an important part of building the LuHi community that makes this school so special! Matthew 18:20 tells us that when "two or three gather in my name, there I [God] am with them.", and by gathering in the mountains for a day, the freshmen class as a whole can grow closer together and join as a Christ-centered family.
Whether it was on the kickball field or basketball court, at lunch or on the bus, in God's word as a leader or a listener, I feel that this collective of young men grew closer as a class, closer to us seniors, and closer to their Savior; all in God's most beautiful creation. I am so proud of this group and can't wait to see where God takes them in the future!"
Meg Archuleta, another senior leader, says, "As a senior, the freshman retreat was so special to go on because I was able to pour out God’s love onto my amazing group. It was great to be able to connect with the freshman spending the day playing fun games and giving them advice for their next four years at LuHi! It was also really cool for me to go as a senior because I remember when I was a freshman how much I loved the retreat and I hope my girls had the same experience as me."
Mr. Schlecht says one of his favorite things about the retreat is seeing the senior leaders take on a mentorship role for the freshmen. He explains, "The seniors are the heartbeat of the retreat. They bring the energy and lead Bible studies for the freshmen. It is amazing to see the seniors take on that leadership role and mentor the freshmen students. They do an incredible job throughout the day mentoring the freshmen and setting a good example of what it looks like to be a Lutheran Lion."
Overall, this day was spent playing outdoors, bonding as a class, and setting a foundation that will establish the tone for the next four years. This year's retreat was no exception, and we are so grateful for all 235 of this year's freshmen!