H2O Church prepares for annual retreat

Arkayla Tenney-Howard

Each year, members of H2O church gather at Camp Carl in Ravenna to build relationships and explore their religion.

From Sept. 29 and 30, the ninth annual retreat will take place.

“It’s a good place to meet people and have a good time,” said Daniel Chepke, the leader of the H2O Church prayer team.

To participate, students pay $40, with scholarships available. Members with cars provide transportation so everyone can go.

According to the event website, students are encouraged to come as they are, but are encouraged to bring basic toiletries, clothing, bedding and their Bible.

Chepke said the retreat is space in the weekend, a time to get off of campus and pursue God.

The event is focused on team-building, but free time allows for students to be productive academically.

“We make sure there is at least a couple hours of free time so students can come on the weekend and still get schoolwork done,” Chepke said.

In past years, the 24-hour retreat has included group activities, games, worship sessions and the annual H2Olypmics.

During the H2Olympics, attendees are invited to join teams to compete in multiple challenges. Most of the challenges encourage students to embrace their sillier side, according to H2O Church leadership.

For 2017, the first session begins Friday evening and includes a campfire, dance party and indoor basketball. Saturday’s events begin at 9:30 a.m. with the first group session.

The H2Olympics begin at 1 p.m. and small group discussions last until 6 p.m.

On Saturday, five students will be baptized as well. The retreat ends Saturday at 9:30 p.m.

Last year, students were challenged to participate in relay races with Dr. Seuss books; the team who read the fastest won the prize. They also participated in a human sculpture competition in which groups were tasked with creating human sculptures and movie depictions to win.

“Depending on the year, I have ran crazy obstacles, balanced eggs on spoons, popped balloons, thrown cheesy puffs on shaving cream-covered faces, played tons of arm-in-arm dodgeball, and so much more,” said Kayla Scheufler, an experience team leader.

Between sessions, students are encouraged to use their free time productively.

“It’s a great outlet for them to meet people within the church and build new friendships,” said Julia Flower, the H2O Church president. “It also provides multiple ways for students to encounter Jesus through nature, worship, sermons, small groups and quality time with community.”

Arkayla Tenney-Howard is the religions reporter. Contact her at [email protected].