By Emma Limor ’21 and Khyra Stiner ’21
Eighth grade students travelled to El Capitan Canyon for their annual retreat. The El Capitan Retreat took place over a span of four days, from Oct. 17 to Oct. 20.
152 students were placed into three large pods and in smaller groups within the pods. During this trip, students interacted with others with whom they may not have the opportunity to meet at school.
Students said retreat paved the way for new friendships and bonds that occur uniquely in an environment such as El Capitan.
“The El Capitan Retreat allowed me to strengthen my friendships and create new ones,” Chris Nakayama ’21 said.
Students participated in beach days, ocean kayaking, hiking, camping, ropes course and stargazing. The day concluded with evening program that included astronomy classes, science-based art and games.
Students spent one night camping at the El Capitan Beach. There, they learned how to pitch tents. At the beach, they experienced an invasion of wildlife including earwigs and racoons. Some woke up to the sounds of growling racoons and earwigs inhabiting their tents.
Participants said this retreat experience was enjoyable to them, as did accompanying teachers.
“Seeing all the kids outside their element, outside the classroom and away from school was probably what I liked most,” eighth grade dean Colby Plath said.
Overall, students said that they found unique value in the El Capitan Retreat, as it helped to expand their friendships and allowed them to relax. They found great appreciation in the trip and had fun.
“It was a fun experience to go camping, because it allowed us to appreciate our lives back home,” Lucas Grad ’21 said.