LFHS Retreats


Shaffer Franklin

Over the past few weeks, Lake Forest High School students, along with a few other neighboring high schools, have had the opportunity to attend retreats. The retreat that kicked off the three weekends in a row was Shyg, followed by Kairo, and ended with the CROYA retreat.

Shyg is run through the Christ Church of Lake Forest. As a high schooler, one can attend eight retreats. I asked Victoria Angelos, who has attended two Shyg retreats, and Katie Barth, who has attended eight retreats, what the retreat means to them. Katie replied, “The retreat strengths your relationship with God and creates friendships with people who have similar beliefs as you.”

Angelos added, “You get closer with people in your small group and you can say stuff you wouldn’t normally be able to say in school. You get personal with other students from Lake Forest High School and surrounding high schools. There is a good balance between religion and fun.”

Barth and Angelos also informed me that there is an extended worship where people pray for each other and sing to God.

Angelos’ favorite part is the extended worship time, which is also known as “Cry Night.” “It gets really emotional.” Barth’s favorite part is the daily worship and she prefers the fall retreat.

Kairos is a nationwide retreat run by different churches, where each church puts a different spin on their retreat. The Kairos that students of Lake Forest High School attend is run by the Church of St. Mary of Lake Forest. Kairos is the only retreat that is four days long. Students leave on a Thursday after school and return Sunday evening.

The Church of St. Mary’s website states that Kairos is “a retreat opportunity open to juniors and seniors based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. During this four day retreat (Thursday-Sunday), we explore many different questions, including who am I, who is God, how do I see God in my life, and what is my response to God’s call.” Kairos is led by seniors in the fall and spring, accompanied by two junior leaders in the spring.

I asked Ashley Colquhoun, who attended the retreat in the spring of 2018 (K33) and lead this past spring (K35), what the Kairos retreat means to her. She responded, “Kairos is a way for people to grow their faith along with make new friendships that they would have never made if it weren’t for the retreat. I love seeing the happiness people find on the retreat and it makes all the work the leaders put into it worth it.”

Colquhoun’s favorite part about the retreat is that, “[she] loves the connections that are made and that are strengthened even after the retreat.”

Senior Katie Stovold has attended two Kairos retreats, fall of 2017 (K32), and she led this past spring with Ashley Colquhoun. Kairos, to Katie, is “a community of people [she] know [she] can trust. We all love and support each other unconditionally.”

Stovold informed me that her favorite part about Kairos is “coming back from the long weekend and seeing everyone at school with smiling faces ready to give you a hug.”

The final retreat is the CROYA Retreat. CROYA is an organization in Lake Forest that is run by the youth, for the youth. According the the CROYA website, “The retreats for high school students are life-changing events at which students break down stereotypes, build positive self-esteem, make new friends, address issues facing teenagers, and pause for self-reflection.”

Students from Lake Forest High School, Woodlands Academy, and Lake Forest Academy can all attend the retreats. All high school ages are welcomed; a student just has to attend a fall retreat in order to attend the spring retreats for the rest of high school.

Senior Ashley Bufe has been on five CROYA retreats, counting the two that she led. Bufe loves the retreats because “they give you a break from the stress of high school and bring you back to your values and morals in life. They are a nice reminder to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.” Her favorite parts of the retreats are hanging out in the rooms and staying up late doing typical CROYA shenanigans!

The CROYA Retreats are led by juniors in the spring and the same group of students lead the fall retreat the following year as seniors. Bufe stated that her favorite retreat is the spring retreat.

Ashley informed me that she shed some tears during the ride home from her last retreat which was this past weekend.

Peter Lynch is also a senior and has attended one retreat. He loves the retreat because he enjoys “making new relationships with people [he] didn’t know before. The retreats make [him] realize that there is a whole community to LFHS that [he] didn’t know before. They just make [him] happy.”

All these retreats mean something different to each person. There are so many different benefits one gets from attending any of these three retreats. I think that if all the people who attended a retreat had one piece of advice, it would be to take a risk and open yourself up to new opportunities on any of these retreats. You never know what could happen during that weekend away.