Yesterday, the whole middle school got back from the retreat. It was so fun and there is so much to tell. The retreat started on Monday and Itamar and I were super tired because we had just gotten back from Portland, Maine for a cousin’s bar mitzvah. The retreat was in Clayton, Georgia at a camp called Ramah Darom. A lot of people from my school go there during the summer and they always have a meaningful experience. The retreat is supposed to be for bonding purposes so you can get to know your fellow middle school classmates better and not just your classmates. I bonded with a lot of people and made some new friends on the retreat. I realized that it’s not a place that makes something meaningful, but the people in it. On that note, let’s begin.
The retreat wasn’t all fun and games though. There were four educational activities that we did over the course of the retreat. The most meaningful activity for me was the Hokies and Pokies activity. This is where there were two groups in the middle school. Pokies were the loving group that showed their emotion and hugged a lot. The Hokies were the exact opposite. They were silent and hated touching each other or making eye contact. I was in the Pokies group. Our group had to work together to solve our differences and live like a community. This activity was meaningful to me because it is being applied to our middle school. Everybody is different in the middle school, but we have to work together to live like a community.
I bonded with a lot of people on the retreat. The main purpose of the retreat is to bond and make new friendships. That is exactly what I did. The retreat helped me bond with a lot of people because we did activities that showed our true self. We were also crammed in a bunk for a few days so it was hard not to know each other. There were some students that I knew, but never really interacted with. I came home with some new potential friends. For example, I am now pretty good friends with Montgomery. I never talked to him that much before the retreat. Now, he is a pretty good friend of mine. I also am now kind of friends with Max. I learned that I could trust him when we were doing an educational activity on trust and we were partners. Jake was a friend of mine before the retreat and now, he is a really good friend of mine because we spent a lot of time together on the bus talking about things.
I have two favorite parts of the retreat. They are zip lining and mountain tubing. I went zip lining on seven courses that were extremely fun. The sixth and seventh courses were my favorite out of all the courses. The sixth one was called Holy Cow because it is the fastest one at the zip lining place. The seventh course was also fun because there was a waterfall in the middle and your partner had to pull you away so you wouldn’t get wet. I was with Lance, but he didn’t really do anything. I had to jump over the waterfall with my zip line. I only got a little wet. The mountain tubing was also my favorite because it brought back old memories of camp from the summer when I went on a field trip there. It was also really fast and fun.
On the last night of the retreat, the whole middle school made a campfire. At the campfire we sang songs, ate s’mores, and told a scary story. Also, each person had a stick that they through in the fire and said a commitment they want to fulfill when they get back to school. My commitment was to stand up for my friends that were being bullied. Here is an example. On the bus ride back to Jacksonville, Gil was bullying my friend Zach so i stood up for Zach. After that, Gil stopped bullying Zach for the bus ride. I am trying to do this everyday when I see someone getting bullied. After all, the whole point of the retreat is to be a good community. That is what I am trying to strive for.