“Baby Bears” Attend First Retreat


Friday morning service

Maura Mansker, Journalist

Retreats are a lively tradition at Bishop Blanchet. The first retreat BBHS students experience in their four  years is the freshman retreat. This required, overnight retreat every spring brings students together under a central theme, and this year the theme was “Bear Witness to God’s Love.”

 This year’s theme encourages freshmen to open up their hearts and minds. Run by junior and senior leaders, the freshman are called to deepen their faith in their first retreat.  Between fun activities, service, and mass, the class of 2025 dives deeper into their own selves, and their faith through reflection and small group discussions. 

The “Cubs” of the school- the class of 2025, attended their first Bishop Blanchet retreat on February 24th. While the rest of the school got a half day and a no school day on Thursday and Friday, the freshman and freshman retreat leaders returned to the school for their overnight adventure. 

“Going into the retreat I thought it wouldn’t be fun at all because I didn’t know anyone in any of my groups,” said freshman Frances Horey, “but leaving the retreat I made new friends and learned to have an open mind.”

The anticipation for this retreat was high within the freshman class. No one knew what to expect. With open minds, the class of 2025 came out of their day-long stay at school with a changed mindset, and some new unexpected friendships.

“As a second semester freshman, friendships were still raw, and the retreat was a perfect way to make more friends,” said senior Paulina Pretchel.

Part of the foundation of Bishop Blanchet retreats is service. On Friday morning, freshman groups and their leaders, accompanied by staff, spread out in Seattle to complete service for the community. From nature cleanup, food bank volunteering, and building tiny homes, students and teachers came together to show what the Bears are about–giving back to the community. After a long three  hours of community service, away from and at school, students enjoyed lunch and recreation time before wrapping up the retreat with their small groups and leaders. 

“I love how freshman retreat initiated a bond with my classmates and upperclassmen. I was so happy to be able to share this same experience with the freshman this year as a retreat leader” said junior retreat leader Ella Yerkes. 

Many upperclassmen remember their freshman retreat fondly. When given the opportunity to give back to the school, many volunteer their time to be retreat leaders. Leaders spent months planning and meeting to prepare for this retreat, one of the biggest retreats of the year.

The tradition of the freshmen retreat stays strong after this year, a long-awaited return to a normal overnight retreat for the Bears. After missing a year of the retreat for the class of 2024, the class of 2025 has been lucky to experience this event.