BHHS Communications Camp: A Rewarding Experience!
A total of 49 students in grades 10-12 attended the first-ever Communications Camp, hosted at Camp Skyline in Almont, MI. Coordinated by Associate Principal Jason Ohrt, the goal of the multiple-day retreat was to build strong relationships amongst students of different social groups, and build a positive culture that will trickle down to the entire school community. Students were chosen anonymously by teaching staff and counselors to have representatives from many social groups. “I asked staff to identify influencers of various social groups within our school community,” Ohrt said.
Ohrt reflected on the retreat: “The success of the camp exceeded my expectations. The students really opened up to each other and new relationships were formed. I think the students said it all in a single act: on the way to the camp they sat on two buses. On the way back, they put their luggage on one and tried to ride back together on another. It would have worked if the bus was bigger, but it was the intent and attempt that made me proud. What amazing young adults we have at BHHS!”
Students reflected on the experience as making a genuine difference in their lives. They shared testimonials with phrases like: “one of the greatest things I think I’ve ever done,” “life-changing and something I’ll remember forever,” “made life-lasting connections,” “taking this risk was the best decision I’ve made in my life so far,” and “I wish it was for a week. Two days is not enough!”
Rory George (grade 11) shared: “This was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. We were all nervous coming into it. We had to give up our cell phones for a few days. We didn’t know everyone here. But it was absolutely just an incredible experience. The staff members were phenomenal. I felt so comfortable talking to everybody. I met so many people I never would have talked with outside of this camp, people that you pass judgments on ahead of knowing them. I think that totally gets resolved in Communication Camp.”
Allison Veneroni (grade 10) reflected: “Communication Camp was genuinely life-changing. My mindset has completely changed. Not only was it so good for me mentally and spiritually, but I made so many great friends and broke so many assumptions I had about people, because there were all different kinds of social groups, and it really brought us all together. We’re all just one giant friend group that spent several days together, no phones, at a really nice lodge. I will never, ever forget this experience!”
Gabby Otto (grade 12) commented: “In high school, there are a lot of cliques and expectations… we make snap judgments, and sometimes we don’t take the time to get to know somebody. Here, you wash that all away, and it’s a clean slate. You get into these groups, with this common goal of wanting to make our school environment more inclusive. When you come together and see people for our shared humanity and for what we all have in common, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Thank you to Jason Ohrt for bringing this life-changing experience to our BHHS community, and to Mental Health Specialist Julianne Umbarger who helped with the preparation for Communications Camp!