Still a child at heart


Annie Douma

Max Meadow, Chris Shang, Addy Scholtens, Ali Grendel, and Allie Beaumont at senior retreat

Despite the few retellings and small tidbits of information from past seniors I’ve gotten about the ongoings of senior retreats, it is more or less a myth. No one ever knows exactly what happens there until you arrive during the morning hours and don’t leave until you get back on the bus ride home 12 hours later. 

Oftentimes, you will hear that it takes a positive attitude or the right perspective to enjoy something. We’re supposed to wake up in the morning going into the day with the attitude that it’s going to be the best day ever, and then at least even if the day didn’t go exactly as planned, it started out on the right note. 

However, as each senior from the class of 2023 rolled into the school parking lot—probably a tad faster than we should be going—and sluggishly walked into the building for our start of the day talk, it became evidently clear that having a positive perspective was not exactly our current outlook. 

Whispers of “I don’t have any friends in my group,” “What bus were you assigned,” and “maybe we can switch when we get there,” were bouncing off the drab auditorium walls and impending our thoughts with the fear of being alone in a group of people we’ve been around our entire lives. 

Like many things, it took some adjusting once we arrived to either get reacquainted with past classmates or simply dispel our poor moods surrounding the retreat. 

Luckily, however, a lot of our fears were quickly disbanded when one of the first activities we did involved picking a team name and using face paint to individually mark a team symbol, strategically add eyeblack, or simply draw pink hearts on your cheek—if you’re me. 

After that, the next most notable thing we did was split off into our smaller groups and traverse the low ropes course. This meant I had to get really close with my group members really fast. We swung on ropes, climbed across tires, and balanced on extremely compact boards. 

Although it was tiring and most of us left with questionably large mosquito bites, climbing, swinging, and balancing made me feel like a little kid again.

Although it was tiring and most of us left with questionably large mosquito bites, climbing, swinging, and balancing made me feel like a little kid again. My personal favorite aspect of the low ropes course was the web. The web for me was a friendly reminder that although time alters many things, certain moments will apparently never change. 

It was almost exactly six years ago when we traveled to Camp Henry as a class for the first time in 6th grade. During that visit, I was lifted up by my group members—a good five feet off the ground—and meticulously handed through the web, careful to not let any stray hairs or loose limbs touch the rope. 

I am happy to report that six years later that was exactly what happened—again. Although, this time, we were much older and thankfully a lot stronger. 

Aside from some only tolerable meals, multiple rounds of 9-square, semi-successful lip sync practice, and my absolute best attempt at climbing the rock wall, I think almost all of our class can agree that karaoke was the highlight of the night. 

Like our own personal concert, we flicked our flashlights on and sang each and every word of all the songs until half the class lost their voice. Friend group after friend group hit the stage, and despite the fact that most people there—myself included—don’t even know what it means to sing on key, it is certainly a memory I am thankful to have. 

For a class that didn’t know what to expect and underestimated the events of the day, I can confidently say for myself, and hopefully the majority of the class of 2023, it felt good to be a kid one last time before we graduate.