Every few years, Northwestern students are given the opportunity to go to the Black Hills for a fall retreat.
The retreat took place this past weekend, September 24-26 at Camp Judson surrounded by beautiful trees and mountains located in Keystone, South Dakota. A total of 94 individuals attended this year’s retreat. The annual fall retreats give students the opportunity to make new connections, dive deep in God’s word relax and make lasting memories.
During the retreat, there was a main session hosted on Saturday morning. The speakers for the main session were alumni staff Jeff and Karen Barker.
The Barkers taught the importance of memorizing scripture not only through their words but also through their acting skills and leading the group in singing hymns.
Kat Ochner said, “Seeing the Barkers act and hearing them speak is always an incredible blessing; they have such wisdom, godliness and life experience, and there is so much to learn from them.”
After the main session, students got to break out into small group sessions and dive deep into the lesson that the Barkers taught.
Lunch on Saturday was an hour of solitude. Students got to pack a sack lunch and scatter throughout the camp and have an hour to sit and reflect on what they had learned and to talk to God.
On Saturday afternoon, students had the choice of hiking to the top of Mount Baldy, going to Mount Rushmore and Keystone, or exploring around Camp Judson.
There were workshops on various topics offered at night that students could have the opportunity of attending. Large group games, a campfire with smores and singing and stargazing also took place Saturday night.
On Sunday morning, worship was held outdoors where student’s testimonies were shared, hymns were sung and God’s goodness was reflected upon.
Annika Stecker and Bryant Agre are the prayer and event coordinators this year, and the two students that helped plan and orchestrate the Black Hills Retreat.
Stecker’s favorite part was the hike to Mount Baldy and she said, “There was a big group that chose to hike, and pretty much everyone made it to the top. At the top, we took a lot of cool pictures, reflected on a Psalm and soaked in God’s creation.”
Agre agreed and said, “Hiking up Mountt. Baldy was so fun because I was with people with one common goal: to get to the top. Once we were up there, it was such a beautiful sight. But personally, the hymns we sang impacted me the most. Hearing 100 people singing classic hymns in unison gave me goosebumps.”