Freshmen, friendship, fun and a two-day retreat

This year’s Freshman Retreat welcomed our newest class to Norfolk Collegiate’s upper school during a two-day adventure.

On Sept. 15-16, the Class of 2020 traveled to YMCA Camp Silver Beach in Jamesville to renew friendships, welcome new faces and learn beyond the classroom.

“The Freshman Retreat offered the venue for students to learn about one other, play, conquer challenges and enjoy laughter outside of the halls of Collegiate,” said Nicole Weyer, upper school dean of students. “As an advocate for experimental learning, a class trip such as this one generates knowledge and information that can be used in many aspects of our students’ lives.”

“My favorite activities during the retreat were the zip lining and the game where we had to move across a raised wooden triangle,” said Coral Bowman ’20. We couldn't touch the ground, and we had to move around based on birthdays and height. Both of those activities were really fun and helped with communication and problem-solving between peers. I remember my friend being terrified of going on the zip line and wanting to go with Mr. White rather than with me.”

Our faculty members also had an opportunity to serve as chaperones during the retreat to extend their relationship with our freshman class.

“I think the most important thing that the students learned is how to work as a team despite a wide variety of personalities,” said Frank Thomson, upper school science teacher. “For some students, the Freshman Retreat is their first taste of independence as they transition from adolescent to young adult. This will set the tone for their next four years as they come of age together, both in and out of a classroom setting. By eating, bunking and engaging in activities together, they ceased to be mere faces in the hallway and became real people with tangible thoughts, feelings and personalities,” he continued. “It is no coincidence that the word 'familiar' is derived from 'family'. Getting to know each of our students at the retreat definitely helped to forge these Collegiate family bonds.”

“I liked the ropes activity where we had to do a lot of teambuilding by helping each other get to the other side,” said Hailey Hux ’20. “It helped us to trust each other more because we had to do a lot of hands-on activities.”

“I liked the zip line and the alpine tower the best because I liked heights and climbing,” said Perry McKay ’20. “The retreat helped our class to bond because we were forced to be with one another for 24 hours, and we actually got to meet people that we don’t normally talk to. In between the activities, we had the chance just to sit and talk with one another and a group of my new friends joined my old friends and it became a lot of fun.”

To view the photo album, click here.