The Confidential Retreat

Gavin Larnard

This past February I was blessed with the opportunity to lead the Kairos 89 retreat. To many, this retreat – led by BC High, and occasionally joined by NDA – is extremely confidential. To first timers, little is known about the itinerary, the location, and the activities performed on Kairos. The mystery surrounding this experience has led numerous amounts of students to enter into this retreat uneasy yet leave with an amazing sensation commonly known as the “kai-high.”

It is no secret that the normalities of today’s society has forced many to adopt a lifestyle of constant work and minimal rest. Wake up at 5:50, go to school, workout, get home, finish homework, go to bed, repeat. Much of the time, this schedule-oriented lifestyle leads to a life of fatigue, instant gratification, relationships that are merely surface level, and the relentless pressure to constantly over-work. Students can frequently find themselves getting sucked into this way of life, going through the motions day after day. Taking a break from this lifestyle is what makes Kairos so special and profoundly formative.

Kairos is engineered to make students participate and be present in the moment. Retreatants find themselves with no phones and no way to tell the time, yet they come to love it. An article written by NDA’s Melina Khan describes this perfectly, “It’s made for you to participate, not anticipate.” Through my experience, the participation aspect is the driving factor in what makes Kairos so “magical.” Through my experience with retreats I have come to learn that human beings are hardwired to desire human connection. Sharing one’s joys and sorrows creates an environment where people can form intimate friendships that last a lifetime. Nowhere else are these truths more apparent than on Kairos. People cry together, laugh together, and at the end of those four exhausting days, people leave Kairos farther along in their journey of self-discovery.

But don’t just believe me, here is what others have to say about Kairos:

“Kairos has been my favorite experience at BC High hands down. I went my junior year and came back to lead as a rector my senior year. It was a magical time where I not only learned so much about myself, but also about the people around me.” – Luke Ronayne BCH ‘20

“Kairos is a secret retreat, but that’s what makes it so special. It’s cheesy, but you get to learn about yourself while making new friendships.” -Melina Khan NDA ‘20

I often find myself overcome with emotion when reflecting on my experience of Kairos. Both times I have attended Kairos I came away with a deep gratitude for the many blessings in my life. Kairos has gifted me with a sense of awe and wonder of God’s creation and has been an experience I constantly revisit through conversation with friends or through reflection. I have seen Kairos change the lives of many, but interestingly enough it hits people in different ways. People attend carrying so much baggage from their everyday lives and leave changed – realizing their true worth. If you’re reading this and you ever have the chance to go on Kairos, go. Go and make your own conclusions. It is not every day we are presented with the opportunity to create an experience that will change our lives.