START promises to provide a good time and fond memories

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Evan O'Neil

3. 2. 1…START. Mike Doyon, mark it. That was just a small part of the fun and games that took place between Friday, October 16 and Saturday, October 17. Assumption’s faith-based community is displayed in so many ways through the various clubs and activities it plays host to—none more important than Campus Ministry. And even greater, the START Retreat.

It’s the first retreat that is held every new academic year. It was started by a couple of students named Amy Logue and Erin Jones in Assumption’s Class of 2001 and has continued ever since Stephanie McCaffery took over the Campus Ministry program. Us “retreatants” heard McCaffery referred to as “Logistics Stephanie,” but all of us, including the incredible START team led by junior Anna doCurral and sophomore Johnny McBride, knew that McCaffery does more than just logistics. She leads a long, five week-plus plan that ends in an amazing 24 hours of laughter, love and bonding at a designated location off-campus—this year was Camp Grotonwood in Groton, Massachusetts.

When we all stood in the Laska Gym lobby waiting for 3:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon, we had no clue what we were getting ourselves into. As soon as senior Patrick Giroux told us on the bus ride that “START is a life-changing experience,” our anxiety shrunk greatly, and we were very excited for this new experience.

Personally, I was not involved very much with activities and organizations on campus my first two years here at Assumption. Though, after showing the Class of 2019 around campus during the summer and fall as an Orientation Leader, I thought, “I might as well explore some of these experiences I’m telling all these first-year students about for myself.” And so it began.

So, what does START stand for? (Wait…it’s an acronym?) Students Talking About Religious Topics is the focus of the enlightening day of fun that you will enjoy while on this retreat. And don’t worry, the religious part may be overwhelming to some—I didn’t know what to think of it either, it’s all about keeping an open mind to the stories of those around you and learning about the diversity among all of us as Assumption students and as people.

We all come from different places, have different stories that have shaped us and follow different faiths on our journey: “Until Christ be formed in You.” One of my favorite things about START is that you do not need to know where you are on your faith journey.

It’s an eye-opening experience. Many said during the 24 hours that START comes at a great time in your life, and it did for me and many others with whom I talked on the retreat. I can’t reveal too many details here; you need to experience it for yourself. And I promise your experience will be as gratifying as you make it.

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