Not in Vain in Vain?

February 3, 2005 at 9:09 pm (Education)

Has anyone ever considered that maybe the reason only 10% (if not less) of the student body shows up to its”student retreats” is because no one thinks that they are worth their time? It’s a nice idea, student retreats, sure. Lots of colleges do them. Only they go to ski resorts. Or the beach. And have fun activities for a week. Now I know that we don’t have the money to do something like that, and though I’m not personally a camper, there’s nothing particuraly wrong with having a student retreat at a nice camp. But let’s be reasonable here: we’re going to drive anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to…play capture the flag, have a mudslide, listen to a speaker who’s probably just like the majority of our chapel speakers, and then come home? And this is supposed to "motivate" us spiritually? Come on. I mean, I could do that at home. I could do that behind our church. Is behind the church a beautiful landscape away from everything else? No, but exactly how much time do we have to enjoy the wilderness landscape in less than 24 hours? I think perhaps we have too high of expectations of these student retreats. I’m sorry, but if only 10% of the student body shows up, it’s hardly a student retreat. Unless I’m mistaken, student retreats generally involve…students?

Apparently most of the student body is not impressed with our feeble attempts at student retreats. And come on…so we change the name. IT’S THE SAME THING! Do we really think the students are that dumb? And I absolutly agree that if we’re going to do one it needs to be done right. But 2 months is not enough time to “do it right”. We should have started planning back at the beginning of the school year if we wanted to do it right. Can we throw something together? Probably, but it’ll end up being just like every other one in the past however many years they’ve done this particular one. And what, may I ask, is the point of that? Maybe the students don’t want to have a student retreat at a camp. Maybe they don’t have time. Maybe they like camp, but don’t think it’s worth just one night. Maybe they think the speakers are dumb. Maybe they think the activities are dumb. But perhaps…just maybe…we should ask them? Obviously if most of them don’t go, there’s a problem with the current way we’re doing it. I.e…change it? And more than the name, please.

And…here’s the kicker…those who go to student retreats are the “spiritual” ones. I wanted to either laugh, cry, or hit someone. Oh boy, I go to this retreat. That must mean I’m a “good” Christian. And those who don’t, well obviously they’re all just apathetic. Because they don’t want to go to something “spiritual” in nature. Or maybe they just…think it stinks?

I had a great time at a student retreat I went to in 8th grade. It cost a bit more than I think anyone at college could afford, but it was a blast. We went rock climbing, canoeing, caving (in a real cave, not a tourist attraction)…all that fun wilderness stuff. And we stayed at a nice lodge with a dining hall…it was fun. I enjoyed myself. We also took a week. That’s alot to ask of college students. Even if we did that, I’m not sure I could go now. A week off of work is alot when your bills are depending on it. But many students could do it, over spring break, or something. Have speakers or worship or prayer or whatever in the evenings. Have fun during the day. Build some community. We’d have to fund-raise to pull it off, and start planning way in advance, but I think we’d see more turn-out.

And those who go to the one night camp thing may have fun. That’s fine. But don’t call it a student retreat. And please.

Don’t waste 30 minutes of student government time talking about it. Join a commitee or something.

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