St. Anthony Youth Ministry was thrilled to host the first 8th Grade Retreat in April 2016. Our Youth Planning Team came up with a great theme that connected well with the 8th Graders. It was associated with Social Media Apps and was called “Stay Connected.” Since youth in that age group are very passionate about the many Apps they utilize every day on their phones and other devices, our Planning Team decided to simulate Apps by allowing the 8th Graders to visit multiple ‘stations’ (Apps) in the Social Hall.
The simulated Apps for Life included: Staying Connected to Ourselves, Daily Growth, What is a Good Friend?, Music, Good Study Habits, Appreciating Others, Take Care of Yourselfie, Serving Others, and Laudate. Only one of the Apps (Laudate) is an actual Catholic App. It has many features: Saint for the Day, Daily Readings, how to pray the Rosary, Liturgy of Hours, and many other areas.
During the retreat the 8th Graders participated in group games. One was a ‘backpack’ activity called "What is in your Backpack?" We had one backpack as a prop and explained that they will be heading off to High School and not everything they’ve added to their own backpacks their whole life will fit or even be appropriate for High School. We talked about some of the most important items that must stay in the backpack, such as ‘good decisions,’ focus on Christ, being honest, good study skills, etc. They talked about some of the things in the backpack that will not be appropriate, such as holding grudges, being petty, etc.
Additional games included "The Human Knot" and "Fingerprints to Fill in the Cross." We also spent time at the retreat by eating and praying together. All in all, it was a fantastic day and we hope it will have some impact as these young people take the next step in their journey.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” ~John 15:5