Middle School Builds Relationships During First Retreat Day
Middle school can be a challenging period in a young person’s life. The struggles of self-discovery, identity, and forming meaningful relationships can often feel overwhelming. At Portsmouth Christian Academy, we recognize these challenges and have designed our Middle School Retreat Day with a clear purpose in mind: to foster a sense of community and guide our students on their spiritual journey. In this blog post, we’ll explore the goals and highlights of this special day, dedicated to growing deeper in faith with Jesus and strengthening bonds with peers.
Building Community and Fostering a Feeling of Belonging
At the heart of our Middle School Retreat Day lies a fundamental objective: to bring our middle school students closer together as a community. “We understand that these formative years can be isolating, and we want to set the tone that we are all in this journey together,” said Middle School Principal, Lois Blatchley.
“We believe that every student is unique, created in the image of God. This retreat aims to reaffirm this belief, emphasizing that our students are fearfully and wonderfully made. Our primary goal is for students to develop a deeper connection with Jesus Christ and forge stronger relationships with their peers. We want them to understand that they are valued members of our school community, and that God has a special plan for each of them,” said Blatchley.
Spiritual Formation: Exploring Identity
The first half of our Middle School Retreat Day was dedicated to spiritual formation, with a specific focus on the theme of identity. Adolescents in middle school are often grappling with questions about who they are, who their friends are, and, most importantly, who Jesus says they are. To guide them on this profound journey of self-discovery, we invited Pastor Yves Perodin from Eliot Baptist Church to deliver a compelling message on identity and comparison.
Highlight: Pastor Perodin’s engaging sermon resonated deeply with our students, making it one of the most memorable aspects of the retreat day. His words helped students understand that their identity isn’t determined by comparison with others but by the unchanging love and purpose that God has for them.
Reflection Time: Following the message, we encouraged students to spend 30 minutes in quiet reflection with God. They pondered questions about their identity and sought spiritual guidance during this personal time.
Empowering Activity: To conclude the morning session, students were invited to write on a post-it note who Jesus says they are in His eyes. They then placed these notes on a mirror, creating a powerful visual representation of their newfound understanding of their identity in Christ.
Team Building and Strengthening Community
The second half of Retreat Day was dedicated to building stronger bonds and fostering a sense of togetherness. Through a series of team-building games and activities, including the ultimate handshake challenge and a potato sack relay race, students learned the importance of effective communication and collaboration with their peers.
Outcome: As students laughed, worked together, and overcame challenges, they forged stronger connections with their classmates. These activities not only promoted teamwork but also reinforced the sense of belonging and community we aim to cultivate.
Our Middle School Retreat Day is a powerful experience designed to guide our students on a journey of faith, self-discovery, and community building. We want them to leave this day with a deeper understanding of their unique identity in Christ and with the assurance that they are loved and valued within our school community. By nurturing their faith and relationships, we hope to equip them with the tools they need to navigate the challenges of middle school and beyond, knowing that they are perfect in the image of God.