Being Part of Something Bigger: My Take on the Girls’ Retreat

Being Part of Something Bigger: My Take on the Girls’ Retreat

The swell of girls in the main room of the Short Journey Retreat Center immediately brought a joyous smile to my face. As a transfer student this year from Leesville Road High School, I had never experienced something so positively-spirited through my school before. 

I felt so warmly welcomed as I quickly joined groups of girls and freely conversed as we excitedly awaited what the retreat entailed. 

The time leading up to the retreat was full of excitement and anticipation as I wondered what was to come. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend an event where I could hang out with like-minded girls and have the opportunity to connect with them as well as educators outside of the school setting.

Feb. 4-5 marked the third annual Girls’ Retreat at Gibbons. The retreat brought girls at Gibbons together into a supportive, loving community.

For years, girls have sojourned to the Short Journey Retreat Center on the Girls’ Retreat to spend quality time with one another, forging close bonds and friendships. The retreat incorporates our spiritual life here at Gibbons into fun activities. Girls can deepen their faith while connecting with one another and forgetting their stresses.

In the past, the retreat consisted of self-care activities, group discussions, advice panels from seniors, journaling, and more. Many of those same activities were incorporated into this year’s Girls’ Retreat. These activities help girls reinforce positive habits and establish new healthy practices in their lives.

“The point of it was just to create a community,” Sydney Kalish (Class of 2024) said. “I know with women in general it’s very hard because we’re always very competitive. We’re very big on accomplishments. So just finding a community can help you out… you know that it’s there for you.”

The theme this year and last was “Priceless.”

“We’re all priceless in God’s eyes. (It’s important to find) that self-value honestly within ourself,” Ms. Anders, retreat leader, said regarding the theme’s goal. “So kind of recognizing that we have a value in God (is crucial and a part of our mission).”

Here’s how the Girls’ Retreat went for me…

My Experience

As I walked through the doors, I immediately felt like I was being embraced in a warm hug. I genuinely felt comfortable and seen. 

It was my first time visiting the Short Journey Retreat Center, and I was already flooded with excitement as I took in the hoots and hollers of the gradually increasing crowd of women forming. 

I introduced myself to new girls I had never met before but was delighted to get to know. We started with some icebreaker activities and then dove into interpreting Scripture. I had never had an experience like this before. 

Then, we broke off into smaller groups and followed leaders to rooms where the heartfelt discussions and bonding truly began. The sessions went by all too quickly. 

The first session for me was called “GODfidence,” a play on the word “confidence.” I learned how to become confident in knowing that I am a daughter of the King as I realized that I should embrace my faith and lean not only on my own understanding.

We can take heart in knowing that God values each and every one of us. We each have our own unique purpose.

These discussions our group had led to reflections about our faith and how God is leading His people to become more like His son, Jesus. 

The next session was about learning to embody the characteristics of Christ and striving to be a vessel of His love for the world to see. 

My favorite session was the last one I took part in. It was a guided meditation led by Ms. Menon where I visualized a relaxing walk along the beach with Jesus by my side.

I had never felt closer to the Lord.

One Bible verse that has come back into my mind over and over is “Be still and know and I am God” (Psalm 46:10). I knew that being in that room at that moment with those women was exactly where I was meant to be – just how God had intended.

I felt refreshed and could truly feel God’s magnificent love in my heart. 

The retreat concluded with adoration and whole-group worship. Father Luke played guitar and led a few worship songs. 

Everyone was singing along and enjoying the community and sense of belonging as we praised the Lord. Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized that the Lord had sent me to Gibbons to experience this exact moment. 

I feel unbelievably blessed to be a part of something so beautiful and be able to openly share my faith with others.

Girls’ Retreat 2024
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About the Contributor
Kylie Saylors
Kylie Saylors, Reporter
Hi, I'm Kylie!  I am a sophomore and a transfer this year from Leesville Road High School.  I am passionate about reading, exercising, writing, and all things tennis.  I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.  And I am looking forward to the year to come!