By Andrew Gong ’21
Seventh graders visited Catalina Island for their retreat trip from Oct. 17-20. There were only 112 spaces for the trip, so a lottery was held to determine who would go to Catalina.
The students stayed at White’s Landing for four days and three nights. There, students joined one of eight trail groups for daily activities. Each group had a naturalist as well as a teacher chaperone. Students said they enjoyed activities in and around the ocean together.
“I loved kayaking, because it was a totally new experience for me,” Bronwen Roosa ’22 said.
Students said another highlight of the trip was the optional night snorkeling excursion, which allowed them to watch bioluminescent plankton light up the water surrounding them.
“[It] made you feel like a star god,” Peter Shen ’22 said.
Nina Burtchaell, the lead chaperone for the Catalina trip, said that this year’s trip was one of the most problem-free trips she has ever led.
“It was the smoothest one we’ve ever had. We’ve had trips where there were a lot of buffalo coming into the camp, and we didn’t have that this time… [There were] no major injuries,” she said.
According to organizers, activities were generally designed to create deeper bonds between students and their groups. Group games, hikes and nature classes created new friendships and experiences.
Students said they enjoyed their opportunity to bond, and that participating in activities with their newfound friends was what made the experience truly special.
“Playing games was great for our group to connect more and have a fun and relaxing time. It was an amazing bonding experience,” Jade Zoller ’22 said.