TEEN Retreat

 Teen Winter Retreat 2024 Group

Teen Winter Retreat 2024 Report:

We had another amazing HFMD Winter Teen Retreat this weekend at Camp Ihduhapi. It sure didn’t look like winter this year, and while we had to miss sledding, we really enjoyed getting some vitamin D from the bright sun! We had a record-breaking number of attendees with 18 teens and 2 young adult volunteers! This is double our numbers last year! We had teens from Children, Mayo, and Sanford Sioux Falls in attendance.

We started out the day with Introductions, name games, and a few team building activities out in the field. From there, we moved onto fire building, where groups of teens learned to light kindling in a little tray,  using flint and cotton ball smeared in Vaseline (a highly effective fire starter). After grasping that, they were able to light a fire in the large fire pit that we use for closing campfire at Not-A-Clot!

After lunch, teens had the option to do the high ropes course and zipline, or to relax in the bunkhouse with arts and crafts and games. A little over half the teens opted to try the ropes course. Those who chose to relax enjoyed making Taylor Swift inspired friendship bracelets and trying out diamond art.

Eriq Nelson, AKA “The Dude” stopped by Ihuhapi to lead an Improv Session late afternoon. The overarching goal of this session was to work on storytelling and communication skills. We played some fun improv games and discovered that we have some very passionate and theatrical teens!

After dinner, our programming focused on life skills. Sarah Hanson, PT, created a really cool game to education teens on RICE, wrapping, and how to fit and use crutches. The game began with a scenario (in the form of a madlib!) in which a teen was injured during a sports game, and small groups had to work together to get this teen home safely. Components included practicing a phone call, fitting crutches, conquering obstacles on crutches, and wrapping an ankle. Sarah even created take home wrapping kits for participants!

The final activity of the evening before free time was Game of Life 2.0, in which small groups competed against one another to complete different games/tasks focused on a life skill. We played The Price is Right and held another Ikea building race. One station was all about communication with an HTC nurse. Groups received different scenarios and had to choose between communicating with their team via electronic message OR calling. They then roleplayed these scenarios with Sue Purdie.  We were very impressed with their skills! The last task including working together to make a snack for all 26 of us. Two teams made quesadillas (basic cheese and veggie-filled) while two teams made homemade corn and bean salsa. The results were delicious, and many teens were proud of their culinary skills!

Once evening programming wrapped up, Teens were given ‘semi supervised’ hangout time in the bunkhouse living room. This free time for heart to hearts and teen bonding is something that they really value.

After a short night’s sleep, we got up for breakfast and had just 2 hours before parent pick up. We played a really fun game of Family Feud, with questions that fell into four categories: Pop Culture, Totally Random, Adulting, and Bleeding Disorder Management. Finally, we had a debrief discussion where teens were able to provide feedback about the weekend, including what they would repeat, what they would get rid of, and ideas for the future.

The teen retreat is a really special time for our teens and young adults. It was so much fun to see the connections and energy strengthen throughout the weekend. Can’t wait for the next one!