Wellness Retreat triumphs at Victory Lake

Dan Pavlik, Campus Carrier Asst. Sports Editor

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Wellness Retreat participants sit around a smoldering campfire while the sun sets at Victory Lake. Students took part in wellness sessions, hiking and yoga. The point of the Wellness Retreat is to help people relieve stress in their daily lives. 

For the average college student, serenity and relaxation are hard to come by.  

The Recreation Department held a Wellness Retreat for 12 students at Victory Lake on April 7. An overnight camping trip encompassing yoga, wellness discussions and hiking focused on disconnecting from the outside world and relieving stress.

Assistant Director of Recreation Amanda Highfield and sophomore student worker Arielle Mindigo were the masterminds behind the retreat. 

Highfield has been to Victory Lake many times, but this one was a little more memorable than the rest. 

“Victory Lake felt magical,” Highfield said. “The moon was full and we were on the camp site closest to the water, it was beautiful.”

Although Highfield was the overseer of the project, it was Mindigo who came up with the itinerary for the night. Mindigo coordinated with a local yoga instructor and the Peer Educators, and reserved the camp site along with the supplies.

“We focused in on mindfulness and self-awareness,” Mindigo said. “Then we started talking to people on campus who could give us more insight.”

In the busy world of being a student, it is easy to lose oneself in the chaos. The retreat helped everyone involved disconnect from all the text messages, emails and phone calls. This enabled the students to try to focus on connecting with themselves and the people around them.

“Everybody was really engaged,” Mindigo said. “We told them if you power down and just give us your full attention this will be a great experience, and it was.”

Beginning with an introductory circle to get to know everyone’s names and background, they then moved into a yoga session.

After yoga, they participated in a serene slow hike through the woods to clear their minds. This was followed by a vegetable dinner cooked by the campfire, as well as wellness talks about nutrition, stress and everything that burdens a college student. 

An early night to bed brought an early morning of oatmeal and group discussions about their experience.  

“I love how we all connected,” Highfield said. “When the retreat was over, I was getting hugs from people I had not known until the night before. The fact that we had each other to keep our attention instead of our phones was a big part of that.”

A night at Victory Lake helped everyone on the retreat feel refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges of the week.

“Everything went seamless,” Mindigo said. “Especially with finals coming up it was great to have a relaxing night and catch up on some sleep.”

As for the future, Highfield expects to have another Wellness Retreat in the upcoming fall semester.

“We’re getting such positive feedback,” Highfield said. “We are definitely looking to try and expand next year.”

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