This week we have been delighted to be joined by year 8’s from Christ the King in Nottingham! It was a truly special retreat for Kieran, Francesca and I (Bryce), as this was our secondary school, and it was even the secondary school of Tom Baptist our director! There was a real sense of family and community – even though we’d left, it still felt like we were welcome to share in the enjoyment with the Christ the King students.

The theme of the retreat was “choices” – a very significant concept for those who joined us, who will soon enough be choosing their GCSE options! We began exploring this theme with a Round Robin style adventure, in which teamwork and the ability to choose the correct decision, would prove very handy in being a successful small group. We got to know each other better on Tuesday, sharing both easy and hard choices we’ve had to make in our lives, and getting stuck into workshops of art, sport and vlogging! At night on Tuesday, we prepared another adventure for each other in the way of a prayer journey. Each small group was given a theme and had the freedom of creativity to choose how they explored this theme, along with facilitating the style of prayer that suits them! We were treated to some excellent displays; including cities, deserts and forests!

Influencers play a massive role in (probably) all of our lives and can often affect the decisions we choose to make. This was explored in a wonderful morning prayer led by Tabitha’s small group and especially when we took to the stage in our very own version of “The Masked Singer”! Each small group was given a world-famous influencer, such as Florence Nightingale, and had to perform a song or songs that related to their life in some way, all whilst disguising their influencer in some way! This led to a dramatic “pump it up” performance and a hilarious “tree” remake of TikTok’s own “fli, fla, flo!” – with that being said, we do have a TikTok account now! You can follow us on @ndcys but please ensure to seek a guardian’s permission if you’re below 13 years of age!

Reconciliation on Wednesday night allowed us all to reflect on the times in our lives that we have perhaps not made the correct decisions, and have sinned. We analysed lyrics from the song “Everyday life” by Coldplay and in doing so, we realised that the lyrics really speak to us! They allowed us to come to realise that we all go through rough patches in life, and sometimes it’s through no fault of our own, but if we choose to look out for others we can become better people and help everyone through their times of trouble.

As is customary on a Thursday, we learnt about the works of CAFOD and were entertained with another legendary episode of The Apprentice! On this week’s episode, we had to create a product that prevented climate change in some way. It gave way to fantastic ideas such as creating artificial trees or turning plastic waste into edible sweets! Unfortunately, Lord Sugar (I mean, Joe) wasn’t as impressed with Mark the Shark, but we appreciate Mark in all his beauty 🙂

Our final morning on Friday came after a mint disco, where we danced the night away to bangers like “Pump It Up”, “Chinese New Year” (I’ll see you at the mooOooOOvies!) and “Brass”. Whilst we were sad to see Christ the King go, we know they were leaving full of joy and positivity, knowing that they had strong mindsets to go on and make the correct choices as their lives go on! Thanks for an ace retreat!

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