Damascus Abundant Life Retreat

The Damascus Abundant Retreat has been in place at McNicholas High School for three years led by Mr. Todd Naumann, Student Culture Coordinator. The purpose of this retreat is for students to grow closer to God and not lose that relationship outside of Damascus.  

The program has grown in the last three years to meet McNicholas students’ needs for the experience of living life to the fullest with God. Freshmen Sophia Brockman said, “You feel at peace.” 

Every night at Damascus, there is a scheduled event called club that all students attend which involves singing, skits, and praising to show the many ways teens can grow with God, even in daily activities.  

Club helps kids to let go of any bad energy they have and enjoy their time with each other. Club starts with the counselors acting out a skit, then continues with prayerful music, and ends with students having prayer time to connect with God.   

One significant time that many retreatants enjoy is the prayer circle which occurs at the end of club and gives students a chance to reflect on personal growth.  Freshmen Ava Gerome said, “The main goal and concept was to grow as a person.”  

During this time, one of the retreatants in the cabin goes in the middle of a circle with everyone else laying their hand on that person’s shoulder. The student in the middle then expresses any emotions or stresses they need to let go of while all of their friends are around supporting and comforting them.  

“Encounter and Empower.” Mr. Todd Naumann. Director of Culture said capture the experience of the retreat in moments such as the described.  

Throughout the retreat students encounter God and are empowered by the compassion and welcomeness of Damascus. Grace McCafferty, freshman, said, “To live your life to the fullest with God,” was her takeaway from the retreat. 

Freshmen Liliana McHugh, Bella McCarthy, Maggie Martin, and Sophia Brockman on their first day when they got a cabin together and got to know each other much better.

Damascus takes the positive in any situation and helps students to know that God will always be with them. 

“We had many other times we could break off into small groups and talk to each other.” Liliana McHugh, freshman, said. 

Since the cabins are picked randomly students got to know others that they would not normally talk to. All the grades were put together, so everyone had different experiences with new people.  

During this retreat students were taught different ways to grow their relationship with God and bonded together with many new people. 

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