Every year the high school and junior high students from Horizon Christian take a retreat up to Jonah Ministries camp in Trout Lake to kick off the school year.
The retreat had a slight rough start at the beginning when the forest fires in Husum emerged, making it difficult for several cars and a bus full of kids to arrive safely and on time.
Thankfully, everyone made it up to Jonah safely and that’s when the fun began. The retreat was full of activities such as rafting, biking, hiking, paint balling, time in the mud pit and eco-challenges that dared the students to ‘Watch their Step’ which was the theme of the retreat.
Teacher and leadership team advisor, Faith Kempf, added that Horizon has been doing this retreat since 2005.
When asked about why the school decides to take this retreat every year, teacher Jim Brown, leadership team advisor, gave three reasons.
“First, before instructional days begin it’s a good time for the student body to interact with one another,” he said.
“Second, we try to make it a thematic camp. ‘Live outside your Box’ and ‘Frightened to Fearless’ have been the last couple of themes. This year it’s ‘Watch your Step’ so with all the activities that are done we try to link that together so it stands with the theme of the school.
“Third, we try to build some kind of a collective school spirit,” Brown said. “This year we organized a little differently; we actually had one day designated for high school as a new kind of thing. The seventh and eighth graders joined us on Thursday for activities where they were mixed with the high school kids because they were elective type choices, so that was good.”
This experience seems to have more to it than just having fun and getting dirty.
Kempf commented, “We hope that they’ll take away good relationships, some foundation for the understanding of the gospel — who God is and who they are in God’s eyes; that there’s a lot more in life than maybe what they thought. The students are able to face the things that scare them a little bit and they try to step out of that to become bigger people.”
Along with a deeper meaning and an enjoyable time, Horizon’s Jonah retreat seems to be the complete package.
“This was the best year yet,” commented senior Alyssa Bryan.
Secretary Cynnamon Hawkins added,” I think Jonah went great this year! I had a really good time and I think everyone else did too.”
Katie Tolbert, a senior at Horizon, is serving as Hood River News intern this school year.