In March, we hosted 50 students we support in high school in a 3-day retreat. On the first day, the students came full of anticipation for what we had in store. All smiles, they greeted each other with fist bumps and high fives as they resisted the urge to hug one another in excitement. It was an opportunity for the students to take a break from their busy school life, take a step back and look at where they are now and where they want to be in the future.

Each of the three days had a different speaker. On day one, they tackled the theme of Knowing Your Self Identity. Day two’s theme was relationships. Denzel, a form 3 student said, “Honestly speaking, boy-girl relationships are expensive and I don’t earn money to buy a girl gifts every now and then. I only have the pocket money my parents give me.” The rest of the students burst out laughing and applauded him saying, “it is true!” This subject sparked many animated discussions amongst the students.

Goal setting is an important skill that students need to practice, so on day three, the speaker led the students in the process of setting their goals, outlining the steps to reach their goals and guided them in how to improve and strengthen their skills in general.

Over the three days, we shared meals, stories and took part in activities that saw the students come out of their shells and bond together. One game that turned out to be a favourite was charades. Before the first round of charades, Zeddy, a form one student said with a smirk on her face, “I think girls are far more intelligent than boys!” This set a winning attitude in each one of them, especially the boys who then had to prove to the girls that they were just as smart! It was beautiful to see them smiling and laughing and leaving the retreat as changed and hopeful students looking forward to what the future has in store.