Retreat to Youth Village

Report by Ellie Castleden, Mark J3

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On Wednesday the 8th May, a group of Y8 and Y9 students went to County Durham to the Emmaus Youth Village. Following refreshments, a chance to unpack and have lunch, we split into teams and took part in a variety of tasks and challenges. We created pieces of drama, played games and took part in a variety of discussion based tasks. To conclude our lovely first day, we reflected in a short liturgy. The atmosphere was very peaceful and a very calming way to finish a busy but sensational first day.  

The next morning we participated in lots of different workshops, including a drama and dance one. In the afternoon, we went for a walk through the local woods and then to the park for a lengthy game of rounders! This was hilarious at times, due to the mud, which resulted in most of us going back to the Youth Village with very muddy clothes! Tired but happy we returned to some artwork and later a liturgy in the chapel. We explored how God has a purpose for each and every one of us, through stories of some inspirational people, as well as showing some of the results or our discussion tasks based on the retreats theme; ‘Reconnecting’. The artwork we had painted earlier was displayed to form one large picture which we all sat around and prayed. After some reflection, it was time for bed.  

After leaving our lodges for the last time, we played a variety of fun games and performed the results of the workshops we had taken part in the previous day. Then we watched the results of our egg parachute competition; it was extremely messy! We held our final reflection and, after lunch, we set off home. 

We all thoroughly loved our time on retreat. A huge thank you to the Youth Ministry Team, Mr Walsh, Mrs James and Mr Copley.   

Here are a few quotes from some of the other students, “We were made very welcome by the team and had a wonderful time. There was a time for everything. Loudness. Quietness. Fun , games.

We painted danced, acted, played rounders and Mega Jenga and much more. The food was great – best meals I’ve had in a while!

We learnt about God and how to Re-connect with him. I learnt that everyone is important, loved and special in their own way. It improved my self confidence and helped me to believe in myself.

It was good to be calm and try new things. Nice to get away from social media. I came away with the message to be yourself as everyone is made perfect in God’s eyes.

No matter where I am – God is there. It was so much fun & I would definitely go again! I had a blast!”

Final words from Mr Walsh…..

The Year 8 Retreat to Emmaus Youth Village was truly amazing and it was simply down to the brilliant staff at Youth Village and our students that completely embraced the whole retreat experience.  Our students were fantastic ambassadors and it was an honour and privilege to take the students on retreat. It was particularly nice to see them in a new environment, enjoying themselves and not worried about what others were thinking about them; they were completely themselves; ‘Reconnecting with themselves and God’.