Providence’s Secondary Retreat – Three Perspectives

Written by Robin Lemke on September 24th, 2015


Fall Retreat (from a Seventh Grader’s Perspective), Andrew

As a new seventh grader, I didn’t know what to expect on the Fall Retreat. I gathered that the boys and girls had switched sports for the house competitions this year with the boys playing volleyball and the girls playing soccer. I really enjoyed playing volleyball with the other guys in Caspian. It helped me to meet more people in my house, and I felt accepted. One of the things I enjoyed the most was the senior games, when the seniors each wrote an activity for everyone else to do. My friend had to give an inspirational speech to a tree.  All the senior-sponsored games were hilarious and everyone had a lot of fun. I hope nothing changes for next year, since the secondary retreat was such a great time.

Secondary Fall Retreat (From a Senior’s Perspective) by Katie

The Fall Retreat could very well be my favorite part of attending Providence. Because we are a small school, we do certain things that other schools don’t – this is one of them. Every year  we come back to school for a week and a half and then leave for four days of  fun  building community together away from school. It’s an opportunity for new students to see what this school is really about: loving each other and loving God—and sometimes doing that in our pajamas.

The retreat is another opportunity for us to compete as Houses in sports and drama contests, which bond us together as house members.  The house competitions continues throughout the year, but they kick off at the Fall Retreat.

Every year, the Fall Retreat brings friendships to a whole new level. Old friendships are kindled after a long summer and new friendships are begun that will last for years to come. This is an especially great way to make the incoming seventh graders and secondary students new to Providence feel welcome and a part of the community. It is also opens the door for younger students to see the leadership and camaraderie of the seniors, and of course, we get to see our teachers at their casual best, having fun with each other and playing with their students. We work hard at Providence, but we also know how to play!

At the location we have gone the past two years, Lakeside Bible Camp, there is an endless opportunities- swimming, rock climbing, soccer, volleyball, football, Frisbee, carpet ball, mushrooming, and stories and singing around the campfire.  Every day, every hour, there is something to do—never a dull moment! That’s why people love it. And it is one of the many things that those of us who get to attend Providence love about our school.

Now if only we could figure out to do it all again in the spring?  Spring retreat anyone?

Secondary Fall Retreat (From the Secondary Teacher’s Perspective) by Robin Lemke

Retreat is a tradition for Providence going back several years and a time when new students are welcomed into the fold, old friendships are strengthened, and teachers get a chance to deepen relationships with the students outside of class.

This year we spent four days at Lakeside Bible Camp. Our mornings started with wonderful food prepared by dedicated parents. A typical breakfast for me is a hurried cup of yogurt with my coffee, but last week I had bacon and eggs, gluten-free French toast, and hash browns. Fortunately, there were plenty of activities scheduled so I could put the food to good use! We attended chapel in the mornings after breakfast, then headed off for soccer and volleyball competitions, carpetball tournaments, and Ultimate Frisbee. The students then came together for lunch where we had more delicious food and broke into book groups to discuss our summer reading. I led a group of students who discussed how Jane Eyre might look in a modern setting, and what aspects of the book they couldn’t live without.

The students spent time in the afternoons swimming and rock climbing or working on their drama presentations. After dinner, we played games together, including a rousing round of Bingo and a variation on name that tune that included first lines from famous novels. This night had students on their feet belting out Disney tunes and high fiving across the room at recognized melodies.

When it was time to go home, we were tired in the best possible way. We had used our minutes to the fullest all week and were happy to come home to rest before resuming our studies. And as we do get back to the rhythm of the school year, we will bring the retreat with us. While we struggle over the meaning of the color white in Moby Dick, we’ll also remember Katie rating our dives on a scale of 1-2, and Wesley dressed up as a capitalist Santa. This year we’ll ponder what makes the great American novel and we’ll have in the back of our minds the dramatic rendering of Green Eggs and Ham. And perhaps we’ll smile as we think of the 7th graders trying to keep their kayaks within the bounds of the buoys when Nick Carraway tells us that we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly against the past.