Merle-Smith Campus Retreat 2022: Trout Lake

September 02, 2022

After a two-year hiatus, the annual Merle-Smith Campus retreat returned with an overnight adventure for all campus students and faculty at Trout Lake in Stroudsburg, PA. 

Students participated in a wide assortment of activities designed to foster trust, build community, and set the tone for the year ahead. Read below to find out what parts of the trip were most memorable for students and faculty, and see highlights in the following video. Additional photos to come!  

"My favorite part of the retreat was ziplining off of the climbing tower. I was a bit nervous because it felt much farther from the ground than I had originally anticipated, but I set my nerves aside, took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and was amazing. Being in the air by yourself surrounded by trees (and hearing your friends cheer for you) felt so incredible and I would definitely do it again." -- Sophie Wandall '26


As Pride Mentors, our favorite part of the retreat was spending time with the underclassmen after returning to the cabins for the night! By playing games, chatting, and  snacking on candy and popcorn, we overcame the initial discomfort of sleeping with strangers. It turned into a night to remember, one full of laughs and a lack of sleep.” -- Tianna and Gianna Tout-Puissant '23


"My favorite part about the retreat was seeing students interact with each other in authentic ways like they were able to do before the pandemic.  They played and laughed and built community through the planned team building activities, but it was most fun to see them just have fun with one another during down time. Also, the weather was perfect!" - Lisa Dubreuil, Co-Director of College Counseling


My favorite part of the retreat was seeing everyone get together with people they might not usually stick around during school hours, and just have a really great time taking part in the activities. Using one of Ms. Woodruff's cameras, I had the chance to view and capture how much fun we all were having. This felt really special to experience! -- Nadia Ali '25


"When our students were on the low ropes course they were having trouble with one of the activities that required them to get across a wire from one tree to another. They tried and tried and tried and just couldn’t do it. The instructor told them that if they wanted to, they could cheat and win a hollow victory. Suddenly, they revved back up and into action. It was such a joyous thing to see! They loved every minute of helping each other across that obstacle. It wasn’t at all like cheating from where I stood. I saw people reaching out to make  sure others were safe,  and I saw them all laughing together as they reached  the finish line. There are many aspects of the retreat that I loved, but this one sticks out.” - Ms. MacNair Randall



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