Search IX retreat helping students explore inner self

By Leanne Pantone
November 15, 2001

Holding true to tradition is something that Cabrini College values. Starting five years ago, the Search Retreat sponsored by Campus Ministry has become a part of Cabrini tradition. This year, Search took place Nov. 9-11 at Appel Farms in Southern New Jersey.

“Search is a student led retreat which allows every participant to connect on their own level to get to know themselves, others, and God in a deeper way than they had before,” Mary Laver, coordinator of leadership and service learning, said.

“On the retreat, you get in touch with your inner self to develop more relationships with others and develop a relationship with God or your higher power,” Katie Bartoski, small group leader, said.

Students who are involved in Campus Ministry went on the retreat as leaders to keep things together. “Our job as leaders is to make sure everything goes smoothly. We are also in charge of small groups. We help the students in these groups get to know themselves, others and God,” Carissa Bassett, a small group leader, said.

The leaders on the retreat were simply there to “keep the ball rolling.”

The leaders are as much a part of the group as the others. We facilitate the different activities that go on,” Bartosik said.

“The student leaders have been meeting and preparing for this retreat since September,” Laver said. The leaders worked long and hard to make this retreat a positive experience for the students that attended.

“Their hard work really paid off. The leaders showed their leadership and made a really great retreat,” Anthony Contipodero, team leader, said. The response of the retreat was well worth the hard work of the student leaders. However, it is the response of the students that attended that determines the success or failure of the retreat.

“The outcome was just great, excellent,” Contipodero said. “Everyone came together and had a great positive attitude towards the retreat.”

“What you put in is what you’ll get out,” Bartosik said. “My group got a lot out of it. It helps when group members participate. It feeds a positive effect and all members are affected by it.”

The overall response of the students that went was positive. They pretty much enjoyed the experience and were deeply affected by it.

“Wonderful. Amazing. There’s nothing else like it,” Kat Pirrone, student participant, said. “I was probably one of the biggest advocates against the retreat. I went because some friends said it would be good.”

The confidentiality of the retreat causes reluctance to go. Some think it is a cult, and others just simply will not go because they do not know exactly what goes on. “If you knew what goes on before you go, it will take away from the experience. Because you don’t know, everything is a surprise,” Pirrone said.

“I was reluctant to go because everyone was being so shady about it,” Tim McIntrye, student participant said. “It was definitely a positive, overwhelming experience. The main key was bonding with everyone else. I enjoyed it.”

At the end of the weekend, “Everyone was in good spirits,” Contipodero said. There were two general outcomes noted by Contipodero. “The students couldn’t wait to become involved in the community, and they couldn’t wait to tell their friends to go because it is a worthwhile retreat.”

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Leanne Pantone

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