Faculty, Student Leaders Prepare for Freshman Retreat 2014

Brandon Bain ’16

In just a few days, Freshman Retreat 2014 will begin. This means many things: group leaders and moderators are doing last minute work to get things ready, freshmen are wondering what to expect, and many, many people are praying for success on the retreat. Everyone who has been on the retreat knows that this is a unique opportunity for the new freshman class to grow; this means growing spiritually in their relationship with Christ and growing fraternally in their relationship with their classmates.

As a group leader on Core Group, I can attest that all the group leaders have put in so much time and effort to this retreat. All the group leaders have a deep appreciation for this retreat, and we want to help the freshmen appreciate it as much as we do. As a member of Core Group, I am one of five seniors and five juniors tasked with deciding specifics about the retreat such as theme, motto, and song, and I have been looking forward to this retreat since last February at our first Core Group meeting. The first meeting with all the group leaders took place in August and since then I have felt a strong excitement and anticipation from all my fellow leaders. Even though we might be lazy in turning some forms in, or we don’t always reply to Mr. Roman’s emails, deep down we all love this retreat and want to make it a success.

Freshmen this year are probably completely unsure about what to expect from the retreat. I know I was. Some upperclassmen they talk to, especially those that are group leaders or grounds crew, will tell them the retreat is going to be great and that they should be excited for it. For a freshman that has no idea what goes on during the retreat, this can just make things more obscure. However, I believe that getting the freshmen excited before the retreat helps get a good environment going as the retreat begins. If the group leaders are excited and the freshmen show up already excited, that just means good attitudes all around. To all freshmen reading this: as someone who has spent countless hours of time devoted to working on this retreat, I can honestly tell you that if you come with an open mind and open heart, this retreat will be one of your most memorable experiences at Strake Jesuit.

I recently talked to two alumni from the Class of 2014, who graduated just last year, Lucca Eloy and Colin Thompson. Both Lucca and Colin were group leaders junior and senior year.

I asked Lucca why he loves Freshman Retreat. He told me, “I love it mostly because of the fact that everyone is together. You’ve got the whole freshman class staying at the school for a few days, while the retreat is led by other students. There’s a huge sense of community and brotherhood, and everyone is getting to know each other better.”

I asked Colin why he wanted to be a group leader while he was at Jesuit. Colin said, “When I started at Strake, all the older guys were amazing role models and made me feel welcome at school, and I wanted to do the same for the freshmen in my group and give them the same awesome experience I had on freshman retreat.”

These two awesome alumni are just two examples of the positive outcomes of the Freshman Retreat. Freshmen, get excited. Everyone else, pray for the retreat. Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam.