Retreatants Brave Angeles National Forest

Hari : 'It made the entire experience special'

Photo courtesy of Danielle Gould
Snow falls during the second day of the second Life Skills retreat. Seniors Arielle Markowicz, Cassidy Bloss and Sarah Miller.

Throughout the school year, Oak Park High School seniors receive the opportunity to attend one of the three life skills retreats. Usually, the retreat is held at Gindling Hilltop Camp in Malibu. However, the recent Woolsey fire made that impossible for the second retreat.

Retreatants attending the second retreat of the school year were introduced to a totally new location with totally new weather.

“This retreat was on a mountaintop,” Senior Navya Hari wrote to the Talon. “We were prompted to overcome small challenges — like the snow — and work together to create a new home.”

After the Woolsey Fire burned down Gindling Hilltop Camp, Principal Kevin Buchanan alongside retreat director and math teacher Brianne Hazelwood had to relocate the retreat to Angeles Crest Christian Camp in the Angeles National Forest.

Art teacher Ms. Bojorquez was one of the adult leaders at the retreat.

“Kids were wearing Vans, Vans were wet — they didn’t have the proper clothing. But otherwise, seeing the snow and having such an emotional bonding experience really added to the atmosphere of the retreat,” Bojorquez said.

Despite the difference in climate, the snow allowed Oak Park students to try new things they don’t normally experience in typically warm California weather.

“I got to have my first snowball fight and build my first snowman with all my friends. It was like a winter wonderland,” senior Maddie Brown said.

Although the location did affect some activities that seniors completed in previous retreats, some retreatants said that the overall trip still left a lasting impact with seniors.

“Either location is great. I would recommend both as it isn’t really the place that makes the retreat truly special,” senior Cade Creason said.