Middle School Students Forge Bonds on Orientation Retreat

For our new Middle School students, the recent Middle School retreat in late August to Camp Alonim was a great introduction to what makes Pardes unique and special. The school is well known for helping develop happy, confident students.  

The annual retreat is designed to foster healthy, comfortable and trusting relationships among students and between students and faculty, before the school year even begins.  Over the course of the three days, our Middle Schoolers learn to take risks and challenge themselves. They consider important concepts like leadership and responsibility. Students are encouraged to reflect on past life experiences and consider their hopes and expectations while setting goals for the upcoming school year.  

“The retreat was a great success,” reflected Pardes School Counselor Jodi Woodnick.  “Students forged new friendships, solidified old friendships, tried new things, and bonded as a community. We spent time working on the Middle School Brit, where each student contributed ideas of how we can embody our ideals of Kindness, Mindfulness, Responsibility and Respect.”

There were several other highlights… First, the Alpine Tower, where kids climbed high into the sky on ladders, rocks or ropes until they reached the top, They also took Night Hikes, where each grade went on a different hike, with everyone getting to experience the same gorgeous sunset over the mountains. Another favorite activity was Capoiera, a Brazilian Martial Art, which is like a combination of dance and Martial Arts. “The kids loved it,” exclaimed Woodnick. “For me, though, the highlight was the opportunity to watch students connect with one another as well as their teachers outside of the classroom setting enabling us to create a close knit kehillah (community) that will continue throughout the school year.”