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Fall Retreat: Echo Journey Groups

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By Paige Slighter

Our Echo ministry for 7th-12th graders recently hosted a fall retreat deep in the woods of Hudson, WI. Surrounded by each other and nature, they found it both fun and challenging. The theme of the retreat was “Growing Together,” which effectively brought together Echo’s Journey Groups. At the beginning of the school year, students are invited to participate in these smaller discipleship groups for the whole year to deepen their spiritual relationships and grow in community.

One of the highlights of the retreat was an obstacle course that involved the students wearing blindfolds. They quickly learned about teamwork and building trust through connection. And of course, nothing teaches unity better than the human knot!

 

Another highlight of the weekend was the “Late Night Show” where the students created music videos for hit pop songs. As they grew in confidence, they were able to be vulnerable and goofy together through creativity. Even those who started out shy and reserved came out of their shells to shine and surprise everyone.

Overall, the retreat focused on bonding and growing relationships through authenticity. The students learned to be more comfortable with each other through meaningful discussion, strong teaching, and light-hearted fun. And it certainly wouldn’t be a retreat in the woods without a bonfire and singing!

On the Sunday after returning home, the students were able to respond to all they had learned with art and creativity. Students shared picture slideshows with fun memories, poems and rap songs. They also expressed being even more excited about meeting together on Wednesdays for the large gathering and their Journey Groups.

 

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"We have been podrishioners for several months. Our daughter, son-in-law and grandkids moved back to California after living in MN for 10 years. They attended Woodland Hills for about a year before they moved. Now we all go to the beach together on Thursdays, come home and have dinner together, then we watch last Sunday’s sermon together. It is a special day for our family."

– Dale and Patricia, from California