*a blog post written by TC Shippy, Rogers Ozone Director
The Camp War Eagle students were back at it again this March for one of the most exciting parts of the CWE 365 year: Spring Break Retreat! Students from around the NWA area came together for half a week of fun, service, and fellowship, which are three of the most important parts of Ozone. High school students came out to camp and none left disappointed.
The retreat started out with a time of old and new friends getting together and being sorted into their groups for the week. The groups were chosen by the sorting hat, splitting the students into their own quirky groups, with names like “Los Recolectores de Manzanas” or the “Boxtops for Education.” They bonded with these groups over the next few days through unique camp activities, service projects, dodgeball tournaments, worship, and dance parties.
On the first and second mornings of the retreat, groups split up around camp and drove into town to serve in different projects. Some projects helped teach skills to the students, like building picnic tables. The oldest guys groups used their hands and learned skills, putting together three tables for Camp War Eagle's afterschool program to use. Other students planted trees at camp and learned how to properly plant trees of all different kinds. Another group served at the Samaritan Community Center by packing snack packs that go to students in need at NWA schools.
After the students wore themselves out with the service projects, they were ready for some fun. On Wednesday, they had “Mish-mash” rotations all around camp separated into five different activities, including fun at the low ropes course, a game of tanks and commanders (basically blind dodgeball) and creating shrinky dinks in the crafts center. Thursday afternoon held another surprise. Following another morning of service, the students participated in an intense dodgeball tournament. Everyone had a blast! They played in the enclosed archery range and where they got up close and personal with the opposing teams. The tournament culminated in a massive counselor versus kid game, and the kids won big time.
At the end of each day, the students came together for a night of worship and teaching. Grace was the theme for the retreat, focusing on the book of 1 Peter and the life of Peter in the Bible. The main focus was teaching students if we look back to what Jesus has done for us through the cross and look forward to what Jesus will do in the future, it will drive us to live a life honoring to God. They broke off into their groups, dug deeper into the Bible, talked about what they had learned, and how to apply the teaching to their everyday lives.
Like at camp, we strive to have fun in everything we do at spring break retreat. One thing that nearly every camper looks forward to are the fun dance parties, and spring break retreat was no exception. The Planet Pizza dance party was a cherry on top of one our best retreats yet. People were standing on their seats, pumping their fists, and dancing with some of the best and most fun friends they have. If you ask any of the students who attend the Ozone, they will say this retreat is the best part of their school year. We spend a long time planning and anticipating this event, and Spring Break 2016 did not disappoint. The effect and reach of this retreat ripples through youth of NWA and beyond in our service projects, spiritual growth, and the crazy fun that you can’t find anywhere else.