The annual tradition of the high school retreat involves all grades in a shared experience to aid in setting the tone for the new school year. Upon arrival at Camp Ponderosa, the high school students begin team-building and confidence-building activities designed to break down social barriers and create a positive, supportive culture for the school year.
The high school retreat is an excellent opportunity for new students to get to know their peers and the staff, just as it is a chance for returning members of the Vanguard community to reconnect with friends and mentors. As the three days progressed, students engage in problem-solving tasks such as the low-ropes course, physical challenges like the Leap of Faith, and team games like human foosball. Students also have the opportunity to socialize in the dining hall and relax with friends in the game room.
A further purpose of the high school retreat is character development. This is done chiefly through community bonfires and character talks. Each evening, students gather in groups and discussed virtues like how to be a gentleman, the responsibility of freshmen year, and adhering to the school honor code. This all culminated with rousing character talks given by the assistant principal to the whole high school — A traditional event that allows the student to get to know their assistant principal while learning some valuable life lessons.
Each day begins before 7:00 AM and ends around 11:00 PM. With such a full schedule, it’s easy to see why the buses on Friday unload with exhausted but excited Coursers, ready to tackle the weeks and months ahead. With the foundation of these three days, each new school year promises to be the best yet for our students as we all create a truly outstanding Vanguard Experience together.