LiT Retreat 2019: What is Your Story?

LiT Retreat 2019: What is Your Story? 

Encouraging students to share their stories and see how God is at work through our stories 

 

Ari, BCM Staff 

There are so many great stories from the retreat. Our focus was on sharing testimonies and encouraging students to tell their stories and understand how God works through our stories.  Many of the students were able to see LiT as an expression of God’s faithfulness and left the retreat desiring more consistency and accountability within the program.   

The students volunteered Ricky* to be interviewed because he had a breakthrough at our retreat. It was a little tricky getting him to talk, but, wow, the difference in him before and after the retreat is awesome! He used to never answer our questions or barely say hi or talk to us at program, and now we can't get him to stop talking.  He was even willing to be interviewed for this blog (see his perspective on the retreat below). 

Another one of our students said this during our debrief when talking about a student that couldn't attend the retreat, "I think the retreat really changed us [the dynamic of the group]. You can tell we're really a family now. Now we just gotta do the work to get Megan* into the family." 
 

Ricky*, Student 

What made you want to attend the retreat? I’ve been to past retreats and it was pretty cool, and I learned a lot about other people 

Have you learned anything new about yourself through this experience? I would say yes, because I was really quiet and after the retreat everyone says I talk a lot now, I don’t know if that is a good thing or bad thing. 

Did you learn something new about any of your peers? I learned that a lot of my peers go through the same struggles, we are not all alone, we can relate with some things 

Were you able to witness a moment of growth in your peers or yourself during the retreat? We all got really close. I shared my story, and then everybody hugged me. After hearing everyone’s stories and knowing what they went through and relating to it, I look at them differently, I got a new perspective and I have more respect for them. 

How did you feel while you were sharing your story? It was weird because I’ve never done that out loud, where everyone could hear me; afterward I felt relief. 

What was your favorite part of the retreat? I liked the boardwalk; it was fun, but it was cold. I went on the Giant Dipper. 

Final thoughts about your overall experience? I would say it was eye opening.  

Would you recommend that other LiT students attend the retreat? I would say that it is a good experience, and you will enjoy it, you get to learn about yourself and other people, and you get to go to the boardwalk! 

 

Jane, Volunteer 

Being that you are a volunteer, what prompted you to attend the retreat? As a newer volunteer, I wanted to attend the retreat to get to know the kids more as well as help facilitate an environment where the kids felt like they could be open about the challenges they were facing. 

Have you learned anything new about yourself through this experience? The theme of the retreat was "What is Your Story?" I learned that my story was worth sharing. I also learned that I have so much more love to give these students and I'm really excited to continue to help them grow through what we do at LiT. 

Did you learn something new about any of BCM’s students? If so, what? I learned that one student can sleep more than anyone, another can speak above a mumble, and one of our more reserved students can give hugs.  More importantly, I learned that the BCM students are filled with so much love for those around them, from their families to each other to their identities. 

Were you able to witness a moment of growth in any of our students during the retreat? Definitely, the students were challenged to step out of their comfort zones and they rose to the challenge. They each were able to find something they genuinely enjoyed about the retreat and learned about themselves - all without a phone! I saw them grow respect for each other as they listened to each other's stories. 

What was your favorite part of the retreat? There were too many! I'll go with the bonfires - the real one and the fake one. The real bonfire was a night of casual fun and s'mores making. Everyone shared fun and scary stories. The fake bonfire was created by the staff using Christmas lights. It was a night of bonding and sharing personal experiences. 

Final thoughts about your overall experience? Having gone on retreats previously, I was excited because I knew that the students would grow as a family. I didn't expect that I would also learn things about myself, especially realizing that experiences I thought were normal were actually a privilege that I had. It was a truly humbling experience to share with the students and I'm really grateful for it. 

Would you recommend that other volunteers attend the retreat? If so, what would you say? Definitely. It's a chance to bond with the students as well as help them grow their values and identities. 

 

*Name changed to protect student privacy 

LiT students and volunteers pose for a picture during a hike.

LiT students and volunteers pose for a picture during a hike.

LiT students and volunteers assemble into teams and compete during the outdoor games.

LiT students and volunteers assemble into teams and compete during the outdoor games.

LiT students pose for a picture in from of the entrance to Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk.

LiT students pose for a picture in from of the entrance to Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk.