PAA Boys' Retreat Teaching Boys to Become Men

November 01, 2010 | Liesl Vistaunet

Portland Adventist Academy treated the boys in the junior class to a weekend in the wilderness with Mountain Leadership Institute.

The purpose of the retreat was to inspire leadership and to give each student a sense of what it means to become a man of God. The weekend included camping under the stars in Eastern Oregon, inspiring guest speakers, rock climbing, challenging leadership opportunities and plenty of male bonding.

Students were divided into four tribes and everyone was given the chance to lead their group through challenging obstacles including long-distance hikes and orienteering with specific objectives to complete.

One highlight of the trip was PAA teacher Mark Smith’s interview with Dr. Craigan Griffin, PAA alumnus (’90), who challenged himself to run a 100-mile race and completed it in 34 hours. The boys were encouraged to look at their transition into manhood as an important time to challenge themselves with projects, obstacles and adventures that seem nearly impossible.

“Once you’re a man,” says Smith, “you can look back on a past challenge you confronted and conquered as a marker in your life for a time when you weren’t beat. You can use that marker as motivation to face a difficult boss, a job or family life.”

Students Joey Lloyd and Sheldon Maxwell say the retreat was an inspiration. “Becoming a man means sticking with your challenges and not giving up,” says Lloyd.

Maxwell adds, “It made me want to set some goals and not just let life pass by.”