Author: Savannah Webb
One of the most beloved high school traditions is just around the corner: Retreat!
In a mere few days, the entire high school will be on buses traveling through the mountains of Western Virginia on their way to Rockbridge. The time spent there will create memories that will last a lifetime, develop new friendships, strengthen old ones, and most importantly, deepen the students’ love for, understanding of, and relationship with God.
Over the next couple of days, as you prepare for your trip, really start thinking about what it is you want to do during your time at Retreat. Do you want to spend time by the pool or in the hot tub with friends? Maybe you’d rather stay in the A.C. and hit up the snack shop or take part in a ping pong tournament in the game room. You might even be looking forward to the most iconic event of all… FCS Idol, where you can solo your favorite song or grab some friends to join in on the karaoke. Whatever your preference, there’s always something going on, somewhere you can go, or someone you can talk to. Make sure you branch out.
If you’re new to the high school, and don’t really understand what Retreat is, let me break the schedule down for you:
On Tuesday, everyone gets to school at the normal time, and, upon arrival, students should take their luggage to the luggage truck in the front of the parking lot. Homerooms are then called down to the front porch to get loaded into buses. **Make sure you try to sit near/with your friends! Seats always fill up fast!** It takes around 3 hours to get to Rockbridge, and lunch is typically eaten on the buses. Word to the wise: Don’t bring anything that might stink up the bus. Also, since the ride is 3 hours, bringing some type of entertainment (a deck of cards, headphones for music, a book) is definitely suggested.
After we get there, students will wait for instructions from Dean Roper and listen to the rules of camp. Then, so long as Dean Roper says, they can go on their merry way and explore what the resort has to offer. **SPOILER: there’s a lot!**
Now, while there is tons for students to do, the most important activity is chapel. Each year, a speaker comes to share with the students some wisdom that the Lord has given. Chapel starts off with a live worship band, is followed by the speaker, and then ended with any pressing announcements. This takes place anywhere from 1-3 times a day and always provides a sense of peace and restoration that only God’s Word can give.
Some of the most fun traditions at Retreat are the theme nights! Every night during dinner, there are dress up contests that all students are encouraged to participate in. Monday night’s theme is “Outer Space,” and Tuesday night’s theme is “Disney Characters.” You can win extra points for your grade by going up on stage to compete for the night’s “Best Costume” award. However, if the student would prefer not to go on stage to be a part of the competition, they are still encouraged to dress up. Solo outfits or group costumes are all accepted.
Any and all participation in Retreat competitions/traditions can earn points. The grade with the most points will earn dress down days and other rewards. Points can be earned by going to and/or participating in events such as FCS Idol, Class vs. Class Tug-of-War, dress up nights, Powderpuff, Dodgeball, and more. All you need to do is check in with your homeroom teacher at the event to earn credit.
Finally, I’m sure many of you are wondering what to bring outside the packing list sent out by Dean Roper. Well, look no further. Below you will find a list of other items that are highly suggested by other high school students, as well as some useful pieces of advice to keep in mind. Happy Retreating, everyone!
The Insider’s Packing List:
- Sunscreen: I know it’s on the list, but don’t forget it. More importantly, don’t forget to use it!!!
- Aloe Vera: For when you and your friends forget to put on sunscreen.
- Snacks: Everyone loves the cabin with the good snacks. Plus, it’ll hold you over if you don’t eat enough at meal times.
- Phone Charger: There isn’t great service, and there’s so much to do that you’ll hardly be on it, but having a fully charged phone can be useful for taking cute photos of you and friends or the beautiful views. (a portable charger can also come in handy)
- Shampoo & Body Wash: Necessities. Try not to be the person borrowing from everyone in the cabin.
- Deodorant: DO NOT FORGET THIS. It will be hot. You will get sweaty. Don’t get smelly.
- Your OWN Pillow: While Rockbridge does provide pillows, it’s always nice to have your own. (Especially on the bus!)
- Socks: A lot of people forget to pack enough of these
- Cheap Flip Flops: Very important to wear in the shower.
- A Rockbridge Cup: If you have one, remember it!!
Rules that aren’t rules, but are strongly suggested:
- Dress up for theme nights! It’s always fun looking around at how much thought and creativity people put into their costumes. There’s no point in not dressing up. Make memories, put yourself out there!
- Don’t spend too much time on your phone. Your phone will still work when you get back home. Enjoy the time you have to spend with friends at such a gorgeous location.
- Take time to get to know your teachers at retreat. Retreat is the most relaxed environment to interact with your teachers. Never in school will you be able to beat them in a game of foosball, so make sure you do it at retreat.
- Getting into the dining hall for meals is always hectic. If you’re there early and right in front of the doors, be ready to experience a real life stampede when the doors open. If you’re not up for that, get towards the back of the crowd.
- Pay attention during chapel, and really focus on growing your relationship with God. I know Retreat is always made up to be a fun vacation, but it can be so much more than that if you’d let it. Don’t act too cool to worship God. He didn’t act to cool to love you unconditionally.