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Ninth-Graders Attend Annual Respect Retreat
October 24, 2019 — A total of 220 Mound Westonka High School ninth-graders and 26 senior Link Crew leaders took part in the annual Ninth-Grade Respect Retreat Oct. 3 at the Westonka Activity Center. Put on by the nonprofit organization Youth Frontiers, the Respect Retreat inspires students to build a positive community where all students can thrive socially, emotionally and academically.
The annual retreat is a great day for everyone involved. The students really embraced the spirit of the day, which had them discuss and reflect on the ideas of respecting themselves, respecting each other and standing up for respect.
Students participated in fun, energetic activities featuring team-building exercises, small group dialogues, powerful presentations and large group sharing time. The retreat focused on creating a more positive school community by engaging students in a variety of activities that build students’ empathy and perspective-taking skills. Retreat staff also offered safe ways to help prevent a negative school climate.
“For me it is always interesting to see the ninth-grade class walk away from the retreat a little bit different as individuals and as the Class of 2023 in anticipation of what is to come, not only for the months ahead but for their next three years,” said Advisor Jen Bormes. “It's also really fun to watch the seniors as leaders because you know they are able to think back to the time they were in these same shoes as ninth-graders not long ago.”
The most important goal of the retreat, according to organizers, is to remind students that they matter and that there is a supportive community of educators, mentors and classmates around them. Youth Frontiers challenges students with the message that someone acting with character does not make fun of, bully or torment anyone for any reason. Retreat leaders feel that participation in the retreat results in cognitive, attitudinal and behavioral shifts that decrease students’ distractions to learning and build a positive school community.
So from the silliness of the day, and the messages and stories that the Youth Frontiers leaders share about respect, the ninth-graders walk away with a positive memory created at the retreat that is part of their journey at MWHS.
About Link Crew
The Link Crew program provides the structure for eighth- and ninth-graders to receive support and guidance from juniors and seniors who have been through the challenges that high school poses and understand that the transition to a larger school can sometimes be overwhelming.