One of the oldest and most enduring traditions at Powhatan is the Upper School Retreat. A wonderful event that encourages teamwork and collaboration through two days worth of fun and sometimes challenging events, it is an experience that bonds classmates and teachers alike and is one of the important milestones in the Upper School.
A centerpiece of the retreat is the Full Value Contract. Almost immediately upon arrival at camp the students begin to work on how they will make the most out of the experience. Students work in small groups with their faculty advisor to create written guidelines taking personal responsibility for how they will contribute to and make the most positive impact on the retreat. As Retreat comes to a close students are reminded that the Full Value Contract is not just for Retreat, but is a contract for the rest of the school year.
“Retreat sets the tone for the year.”
The first afternoon is full of activities. Students might go on a hike or participate in team building challenge activities. This year’s activities focused on a common theme of communication. “The students love the challenge activities, says Mr. Royston, an Upper School Art teacher. “They have to work together, communicate efficiently and problem solve. Those are great skills to sharpen whether you are in the classroom or outdoors in a setting like this. Retreat sets the tone for the year.”
In a tradition that spans decades, Post & Rail Captains are selected for the coming year during this annual right of passage. Applicants are required to make a presentation in front of all Upper School students as selections are made. Rail students in Upper School then vote for Rail captains, and Post students in Upper School vote for Post captains. This is a significant honor and applies to all areas of the school community.
Retreat wrapped up with a culminating activity designed to reinforce the lessons learned over the two-day event.
This was the 36th year of the retreat and it was held on August 31st & September 1st at Camp Rim Rock in West Virginia.