Junior Retreat Encourages Spiritual Growth, Leadership Skills and Class Connections

groupFor all of us there comes a day when you have to enter your “yellow zone.” You know the “yellow zone,” it’s that place where you step out and do the things you’re not quite so comfortable doing, but you know you’ll be better off for trying. It’s about being intentional.

This past week that “yellow zone” meant walking across high ropes for TCS student, Nicole Caruso.

“The high ropes was not one of my favorites,” laughed Caruso.

The challenge, among many others, is part of a required trip each year for every junior at Timothy Christian School. The Junior Retreat is an experience to better prepare students for leadership at school and within their communities. Students spend three days and two nights in Spruce Lake Outdoor School in Canadensis, PA to take part in challenges that steer them back to spiritual reflection.

“They’re older, they’re more mature. rockwallWe want to challenge them at this point in their career here at Timothy, to say to them you’re almost done, what impact are you having on your class and for eternity,” says Student Life Director, Laura McKay. “We want them to think, what is my purpose? College is coming soon, where do I stand with the Lord and am I making decisions that would be in line with His Word, pleasing to Him?”

And whether it be Jacob’s Ladder; a combination of wooden beams and cables that students climb,  the zip line, the high ropes or the rock wall, the adventure activities are specifically designed to challenge students to promote communication, develop trust, and build unity with other members of their class.

“I really loved watching our class grow together. Our class really bonded through that. We all said what was on our hearts and that really impacted me,” says Caruso.

“This is the time when they really become upper classmen,” says McKay. “It’s not just being on the receiving end, but to think there are other students looking up to them ahigh-ropes a class and what legacy are they leaving?”

The intention of the weekend was not lost on junior, Josh Koshy.

“I got a lot closer to my friends and classmates. The challenges I did told me I can have trust in them,” says Koshy. “It also brought me closer to God because learning about the challenges themselves had different aspects of God’s trust and love to us.”

Nick Badillo, a local pastor and TCS baseball coach was the speaker at the event. His challenge to the entire class was to become active servant-leaders for Jesus Christ.

“I’m definiteljacobs-laddery going to try to push myself even further with just the work quality that I’m doing,” says Caruso. “Maybe stepping out doing a sport I’ve never done before or something different that I’m going to try senior year.”

“I appreciated every moment of it,” says Koshy.

Hundreds of alumni could reflect back on the Junior Retreat with fond memories. It’s been a Timothy tradition for more than twenty years. Yet for McKay, the joy of watching students transform because of this trip, never gets old.

“It’s fun for me to watch them. To have them see other people in a different light and have them realize how wonderful that is and how they can move on from here.”

The goal is that from here, nicolethe class is better prepared and emboldened to be leaders for change in the TCS hallways and classrooms. It’s that same attitude they will take with them next year on their Trip to the Dominican Republic- a trip all Timothy Seniors take part in. The experiences from Junior Retreat will help prepare them for that journey where they will apply the leadership skills learned to share God’s love with the people in the DR.