This year’s Ninth Annual Honors Retreat took place in Camp Tuolumne trails in the city of Groveland, which is nestled on the edge of the Yosemite National Forest. The Honors Club took about 50 students and 8 Honors Professors to bond over a weekend of hiking, swimming, and campfires.
The event takes place ever y fall semester to help encour- age new students to become more involved in the honors program, as well as veteran honor students to create strong bonds with their professors, as well as each other.
In order to attend the retreat, honors students are required to fill out an applica- tion, and a two-paragraph essay where the members express their desires to go and what they feel they can contribute to this annual event. Students with financial limitations had no worries, and were allowed the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to assist in paying for the trip.
Students and staf f set of f on
their camping adventure on Sept. 7 arriving in Groveland at 6 p.m. to a dinner where Honors Director Jennifer Saito required everyone to sit among unfamiliar faces and discuss a specific topic to star t of f their conversations. Students were encouraged to step out of their comfor t zones and express their ideas and opinions to strangers.
While the staf f members retired early, a majority of the students stayed up most of the night, shedding their studious ways to stay up into the early hours of the morning playing games like taboo, truth or dare, telephone Pictionary, stargazing and even hiking.
Cindy Nguyen, a first time attendee of the Honors Retreat expressed par ts of the retreat she really enjoyed.
“The food was freakin’ good and it was cool that I even had time to do homework,” said Nguyen.
Saturday morning of the retreat consisted of three dif ferent workshops. In the first workshop Joshua Wood demonstrated and taught his extreme yo-yo skills. The second workshop was led by Andrea Crump who spoke about an amazing experience she had participating in differ- ent ser vice projects in Belize, and the final workshop was about amateur radio given by Glen Rickerd.
In addition to workshops, ever y year the camp allows an archer y session which students and teachers alike tested their abilities with a bow and arrow. Along with a huge pool and hayrides, campers
were busy taking advantage of all the outdoor activities that the mountains provided.
The evening ended with the infamous and traditional “Bad Poetr y” contest where once a year the Honors Program embraces and encourages creativity and expression with no grammatical or intellectual bounds. This event concluded with a ‘goodbye’ gift to this year’s retiring co-director Jeannine Stein and a welcome initiation process to her successor Kasey Gardner.
Andrea Crump, returning member and honors communi- cation ambassador, expressed her feelings about the retreat.
“I felt this one was a lot more personal than last year’s retreat,” said Crump.
Honors President Chris Orcutt shared that his expec- tations of the retreat was to learn more about his fellow members and the faculty along with being able to share his knowledge.
“Ironically, I found that I learned a lot more about myself than anyone else,” said Orcutt. “My most memorable moments of the event would be Saturday night the Bad Poetr y contest, Kasey’s initiation.”
This event always leaves students and faculty with unforgettable experiences and memories to look back on and cherish for the rest of their lives, and the 2012 honors retreat made no disappoint- ments. It truly is an amazing event and is an oppor tunity that anyone who is granted the chance to take should do exactly that.