Sophomores hug it out as they enjoyed the day learning and growing in a respectful way.

Sophomores hug it out as they enjoyed the day learning and growing in a respectful way.

Darahnea Moua and Abby Urben

On Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3, South High School hosted a Respect Retreat with the help of Youth Frontiers for the tenth graders. All of the South High sophomores were split up into two different days and given the opportunity to participate in this one-day retreat. In previous years at South, Juniors and Seniors were able to experience a similar retreat known as Challenge Day, however, it stopped for a brief period of time until recently South decided to bring it back through Youth Frontiers. This is the second year that South High has worked with Youth Frontiers to provide the sophomore class with an insightful experience.

A shoe get-to-know-you game was one way the students broke the ice in learning about one another.

Youth Frontiers is a nonprofit organization that makes it its mission to “provide schools with experiences that inspire character, civility, and community” since 1987. They offer one-day retreats- focusing on core character values such as kindness, courage, respect, leadership, and wisdom to students from elementary school to high school. They even offer retreats for staff members. After students and staff experience their retreats, their hope is to have enhanced self-awareness, empathy, and a sense of connection in everyone. They promote the idea that everyone matters and how important it is to treat ourselves better in order to treat others better.

The morning started out with icebreakers such as games to get everyone up and moving, a good way to start the day in a positive way. Many of the sophomores were challenged to get out of their comfort zone and interact with other students they don’t usually talk to. When asked about these games Walter Bernal stated,

“The games made the day more fun.” After the icebreakers, the sophomores were then formally introduced to the Youth Frontiers leaders, Switch and Julia.

“Energetic,” is the word Sophomore Andi Roehl used to describe them, “They kept everyone engaged.” Throughout the day, the students were also split up into smaller groups to discuss what respect is and their personal thoughts about it. After many more games, songs, and stories, the sophomores were challenged, yet again, to focus on deeper topics. As the lights were dimmed and the room got quiet, the tone became more serious. Everyone was given the opportunity to reflect on respect in their environments and share their new focus with everyone. Many students took this opportunity to share their goals with the group. Jon Schrank, a teacher who participated in this retreat noticed that he,

“Saw participation in kids who normally would not participate in a group activity.” The respect retreat hit home to many students, all on different levels. As the sophomore class as a whole, participant Jesus Castaneda observed that he thought that this retreat helped his class, and although nothing seemed to be permanent, it was a good experience for them to have. To wrap up the event, students got to pick and choose what they wanted to take away from this day and make a commitment to either focus their respect on themselves, others, or stand up. Thank you, to Youth Frontiers for an unforgettable experience.

Sophomores hug it out as they enjoyed the day learning and growing in a respectful way.