While filled with many joys, middle school can also be a time of some insecurity and uncertainty as students transition from children to teenagers. At CPA, the middle school staff and teachers desire to step into this transition and guide students as they navigate the middle school years. The recent seventh grade retreat to Barefoot Republic Camp was just one way to help students as they face new challenges and grow in maturity.
The camp itself was filled with fun and excitement, with lake swimming, zip lines, a low ropes course, paint ball, and field games. Each activity was structured in such a way to encourage communication, leadership, listening, and humility.
Director of Spiritual Formation and Discipleship Jim Lee commented, “I saw a huge difference in my group from Day 1 activities to Day 2 activities. It was amazing to hear the students talk about things that didn’t work on Day 1 and make changes in the ways they communicated with and listened to each other to accomplish a common goal. This wasn’t just about completing the task; these kids were experiencing how to form the foundations of healthy relationships.”
Every component of the retreat, in fact, was intentional, from cabin groups, to table groups, to field groups, to bus groups. When asked to write about their favorite things, students responded…
“the field groups and team activities”, “getting closer to each other”, “getting to know my classmates”, “team building”, “how mixed the groups were”, “bonding”.
Each day, talks were given by CPA staff, centered around the theme of DIRT. Lee, along with teacher Andrea Denton, talked to students about their creation-from dirt- in God’s own image; the presence of sin-dirt-in every life; and the process of sanctification-ridding ourselves of the dirt, assuring them of the promise of Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Of the trip Lee said, “I was so impressed with seventh grade teachers and middle school administration. Every minute of the retreat was intentional. From the outside, a lot of the time looked like chaos- 100+ seventh graders running around- but there was nothing chaotic about it. Every detail was thought through and implemented in the context of love. Every moment of instruction, correction, or fun was done in truth and grace.”