Experience a weekend full of spiritual growth and closer relationships – that is the promise of the campus fall retreat next weekend in Okoboji. All students are welcome to the Presbyterian Camp of Okoboji from September 21 through 23 to be involved in a variety of activities, all while being back by Sunday afternoon!
This year some major changes are being made. The first is the location – the campus fall retreat has typically been in the Black Hills. However, this year the location has switched to Okoboji for a variety of reasons.
According to Associate Dean of Christian Formation Barb Dewald, those in charge of planning the retreat changed the location from the norm because “it gives us a different setting with other recreation options, allows for less travel time and makes for a cheaper registration fee.”
Because of the location change, the driving time will be shorter, which means students will be back on Sunday in time to finish homework, do laundry or whatever else they need to catch up on.
Another change is that it’s not only Campus Ministry sponsoring the event. This year, Campus Ministry is teaming up with Student Programs, Intercultural Development and Residence Life in order to create a time of fun and growth in faith.
“We believe we are better together, so it was natural to come together to sponsor this retreat,” Dewald said.
With all of the people on campus working together, the weekend is sure to be packed with lots of valuable sessions and activities. Along with the main sessions, there will also be smaller breakout sessions, worship, small groups, time alone and more.
As for the main sessions, Mark DeYounge will be leading those. He says he will be talking about why Jesus committed so much of His earthly ministry to only a few dozen deep and intentional relationships instead of just to the masses.
“We’ll be diving into matters of belonging, authenticity, multiplication and motivation as it pertains to us growing as disciples of Jesus Christ who disciple others to make disciples,” DeYounge said.
Along with those meaningful discussions, there will be some recreation time. On Saturday afternoon, there will opportunities to spend time on the lake, hang out at Arnold’s Park, play mini golf, relax in hammocks and more. Then on Saturday night, all of the students and staff will go for a cruise on the Queen II, which is a double decker boat that can fit up to 200 people.
Student leader Jacob Johnson is very excited for that part of the weekend and has been preparing for the retreat for a while now. He is one of the four Campus Ministry Prayer Retreat Coordinators, and the four of them spent the week before classes planning the breakout sessions, recreation, food and more, as well as figuring out how to recruit students to come.
“It’s going to be a great time to dive into God’s word, meet new people and step away from the busyness of life,” Johnson said.
Dewald encourages everyone to go on the retreat, saying that it is a great way to start the year.
“Retreats are unique in that they take us out of our regular routines and give us the space to see, think and hear from God and to connect with others,” Dewald said.