On Thursday, September 11th, New Life Academy’s 11th and 12th grade National Honor Society applicants served at the Lake Middle School Courage Retreat, held at Crossroads Church.
Organized by Youth Frontiers, the Courage Retreat spends the day motivating youth to make courageous choices by engaging them in activities, presentations, and discussions. NLA’s high school volunteers were role models for the kids.
That morning, NLA students enthusiastically greeted and high-fived 180 Lake Middle School kids. The day began with community-building activities. “There was a lot of dancing, jump roping, and mixer activities!” said Kim Chirpich of NLA’s Guidance Department. Large group presentations focused on fear, courage, and the importance of standing up for what’s right. Throughout the day, NLA students led small group discussions, delving deeper into the presentations’ topics. 11th grader Jamison Miller, one of NLA’s student leaders, said he thought leading the small group would be hard, but he learned that “you can just be real with people.”
During this retreat, students not only practiced leadership and service, but they also showed Christ’s love to the younger kids. Chirpich said, “They led their small group discussions by example, with grace and kindness.” She says that because our students used their own stories from middle school, the kids felt comfortable sharing with the group.
NLA students learned and grew as they led the Lake Middle School kids. Miller said that, while the purpose of the retreat was to teach the kids courage, it also taught him courage and made him think more about sharing Christ with others. NLA students’ enthusiasm and maturity were noticed. Inna Collier, NLA’s Guidance Counselor, heard from Youth Frontiers that the New Life Academy students were the best volunteers they’d ever had.