Ninth grade retreat proves challenging, valuable

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Ninth grade students paddled down the Colorado river for their third and final retreat. For some students, retreat is a time to form new friendships as well as hang out with older friends, and for others it is a time to get away from school and relax after their first month back.

This year students had the option to either go on the upper or lower river Colorado river. Starting Oct. 8, students spent four days canoeing down the river and were surrounded by peaceful nature. Lower river students spent most of their time on the river which bordered California and Arizona. Upper river students canoed on a separate part of the river in Nevada.

Students were divided into trail groups of about 14 which had one naturalist and one teacher. After a six hour bus ride, students were greeted by Naturalists at Large, a organization that helps organize nature trips for schools, who supervised the retreat.

While on the lower river, students paddled for around 36 miles, but were aided by a current. Campers traveled from campsite to campsite with the occasional stop at a nearby sandbar. When each trail group arrived at their designated campsites they would make their tents and then would have a bit of free time before dinner. After dinner, students would have an evening program where they would do different activities every night. During evening program students stargazed, night canoed, and had campfire activities.

“My favorite night was the night we had the campfire and ate smores. I enjoyed watching my friends and classmates perform and show their skills,” Ben Webber ’22 said.

On the upper river, students paddled for a total of 16 miles down a different section of the Colorado River.

“My favorite part of the Upper River trip was when my partner and I slept underneath the stars. I liked this because it was very beautiful and peaceful,” Matty Liu ’22 said.

On the last day of the retreat students woke up at 5:00 AM, allowing them to get on the river on time to get to the final pickup spot.

“My favorite part of retreat was when we got up super early to canoe on the last day because I’ve never done anything like that before,” Izzy Hyman ’22 said.

Students arrived back at the Middle School Oct. 11 where they were greeted by parents eager to see their children after a week away from them. “I enjoyed retreat because I made friends with a bunch of new people I would have never met if not for the trip and also it was good break from the stress of school,” Rafael Lambert ’22 said.

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