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Year 11 Retreat Reflection 2017

31 May 2017

Retreat is a time to escape from our busy lives, when we can reflect and restore relationships so we can go back to our day to day life feeling rejuvenated and with a new perspective. I really think we have achieved this despite everyone's preconceived ideas of what retreat may have been.

From the moment we stepped off the bus there was an excitement and anticipation about what the next few days would hold. Our ice breaking karaoke and questionable dancing really displayed the positive attitude and open minds everyone brought to retreat with them. The theme of our Retreat was ‘relationships’. In our small groups we reflected on our relationships with our family and the people dearest to us in our lives. We were also able to share our own unique situations and learn more about each other’s lives. The Family Table activity was interesting because despite all being 16 and 17 year old girls no two families were the same.  The comfort we felt sharing within these small groups reflected our bonds which have grown amazingly over the last four years.


In the afternoon we split into our activity groups which gave us the opportunity to engage in “Challenge by Choice”. This included rock climbing, archery, BMX, laser tag and high ropes. BMX was great, other than majority of the people stacking it (thanks kneepads). The rock climbers really pushed themselves, we would say give yourself a pat on the back, but we know you’ve got blisters on your hands. High ropes was extremely enjoyable giving us the opportunity to cheer on and encourage our peers as they challenged themselves and pushed out of their comfort zones.


Later that evening we reassembled into our small groups for a team building activity - the fashion show, using only the highest quality newspapers. Everyone worked co-operatively and a new generation of models and designers were born.  Our group Mandala prayer was a time for reflection. The mandala allowed us to create a symbolic representation of very special gifts and talents. Mrs Thomas introduced our affirmation bags which we decorated with a symbol of ourselves and are now filled with warm fuzzies which we were eager to receive. Bring on the compliments!


On Thursday morning we started with guided meditation which helped us to centre and ground ourselves for the day. It allowed us to reflect on the things that we are proud of and how to grow as an individual. The values auction helped us to question the things that we truly value in our lives. We were reminded that what really matters in life is the love of ourselves, our family and friends. Desperate for some alone time we were left to our own devices (but not our phones). The healthy campers decided on a bushwalk with Adrian leading to ensure Ms Stoj didn’t lead them to Windsor. The less physically inclined preferred to stay back and get their money taken by the vending machine. There were board games to take us back to the Dark Ages, nevertheless it strengthened our relationships through competitive spirit and much laughter.


When examining our own personal character traits through the DISC survey, there was no surprise when Cassie, Zoe, Bella, Ariane and Santhi came out with the dominant trait. Meanwhile the rest of them were SIC, Steady, Influencing and Complacent. Through planning our dream holiday we learnt the characteristics some of us already knew we had while others surprised themselves. During the evening reconciliation session, it felt like we were in an ocean of our tears drowning in love. But in all seriousness it was an opportunity for our year group to bond with God and reconnect with each other. We would especially like to thank Fr. Paul for providing us with the opportunity for sacramet of reconciliation which allowed us to experience a feeling of deep healing and forgiveness in our relationships and with God. We were also blessed to have Fr. Paul, our Parish Priest present to celebrate the Eucharist with us to conclude our Retreat.


We are extremely lucky to have an amazing group of staff accompanying us on this retreat: Ms Kavanagh, Ms Stoj, Mrs D’Arcy, Mrs McDermott, Mrs Lahiri and Adrian. A special thanks to Ms Stancliffe for organising and leading us and to Mrs Thomas who put together this rich and meaningful experience.


Mary-Ann H, Caitlin H, Danielle T, Rosie A, Zoe C, Cassie P and Isabella J.

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