Training for the Campus Spiritual Life leaders was led by Wisconsin Academy Bible Teacher Greg Edge (standing) and Andrews Academy Principal Mario Ferguson.
Ninety-five students from various Lake Union academies gathered at Camp Au Sable from Sept. 29 – Oct. 2, for leadership training and team-building activities. This was the first time meeting since the Covid lockdowns forced a pause in 2020 and 2021.
The Lake Union Secondary Leadership retreat, set amidst a stunning fall backdrop, is an opportunity for students to take a break from the pressures of schoolwork, side jobs, relationships, and enjoy the company of others whose lives are also focused on leadership. The training allowed the students to collect ideas and thoughts from other academy leaders to implement back in their home schools.
Experts led out training for the following positions and groups:
Student Association Leaders, overseen by Indiana Academy Principal Steve Baughman.
Dormitory RA’s (resident assistant), led by Great Lakes Adventist Academy Vice Principal Matt Hill.
Yearbook Editors/Public Relation Officers, facilitated by Lake Union Communication Director Debbie Michel, Andrews University Photography Professor Dave Sherwin and Andrews University Design Professor Diane Myers.
Junior and Senior Class Leaders, facilitated by Great Lake Adventist Academy History Teacher Bruce Reichert.
Campus Spiritual Life Leaders, led by Andrews Academy Principal Mario Ferguson and Wisconsin Academy Bible Teacher Greg Edge.
The students’ representatives from seven academies enjoyed finding common ground with other leaders, sharing ideas about how to better involve their fellow school members, brainstorming new fundraising ideas, and putting together projects. The Andrews University Enrollment team provided engaging Sabbath School and evening program. Students were able to participate in team building activities - among them was the three-legged race, donut and pie-eating competitions, bonfire reflection session, t-shirt design competition, and a nighttime hay ride.
The student listened to speakers who graciously stepped in at the last minute after Hurricane Ian prevented author Melissa Schiffbauer from making the trek from Florida. Lake Union President Ken Denslow opened on Thursday night with a powerful message on the Prodigal Son, and Educator/Pastor Seth Day presented on Friday and Sabbath.
Day’s presentations focused around the theme of the weekend, “When You Have Love.” He asked the students to ponder the question: “How can God use me, even when I’ve been broken, hurt, and betrayed?” He advised the students, “Just worry about sitting in the presence of God and where He wants to send you.” Day also preached that the leaders of today are called to step up and help those who are hurt, to disregard self and embrace others with love.
During the Friday evening vespers program, following a foot-washing and communion service, students shared personal testimonies of how God had worked in their lives. One young woman told a story of how her grandfather, whom she considered her superhero, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She felt that she was losing her superhero figure, but she learned to lean on God and eventually realized that He was her true superhero, one that would never leave her nor forsake her.
Another student talked about his experience of suffering from extreme depression. He went to a summer camp, where he had the opportunity to talk to pastors. With each conversation, he was able to strengthen his faith in God and rediscover his purpose, finally breaking free from the chains of despair that once held him back from living the life God called him to.
Peyton Martz, junior class vice president at Hinsdale Adventist Academy, says she was helped by listening to the other leaders. “I was reminded that some of the qualities I don’t always consider, such as caring for others, I can take into consideration and grow as a leader.”
Hevanna Hippler, Andrews Academy senior class president says it was interesting to hear other’s perspective. “I appreciated hearing how other schools managed events and also got some ideas on things we can do.”
Khine Myint, Indiana Academy Student Association pastor was grateful to have met “so many great people and made so many connections with other schools.” One big takeaway for him was that leadership begins with self and our relationship with God. “We need to recognize that we can’t give what we don’t have.”
The Lake Union Education department introduced its Consider a Career in Teaching initiative, and provided a $1,000/year for four years academic tuition scholarship for a junior or senior who enrolls in an Education Program in an accredited Adventist college/university, with the intent of teaching in an Adventist school. Three students won the raffle, for a combined tuition scholarship contribution of $12,000.
“We thank God for the opportunity to serve alongside our talented and wonderful students,” said Ruth Horton, EdD, Lake Union Education director.
Photos shot by Yearbook/PR students and Dave Sherwin
Video shot and edited by Jacob Capiña
Students produced a newsletter, which will be distributed in the coming days.
Jacob Capiña, Hinsdale Adventist Academy Student Association Public Relations Officer, with Herald staff.