65 KU Hillel students in the Beren Leadership Class attended the Beren retreat on Sept. 24. Students participated in different activities, both leadership and bonding, with the Hillel staff at Tall Oaks Conference and Retreat Center in Linwood, Kansas.
Hillel uses this retreat to allow sophomores, juniors and senior leaders to get to know each other more, as well as to have the opportunity to brainstorm and create new events for Hillel and the KU Jewish community. Students and staff enjoyed a Havdalah ceremony to end Shabbat together, followed by a campfire and song session where students sang their favorite camp songs.
Hillel Engagement Associate Tori Luecking said she likes how the retreat gives students strong community moments, like Havdalah and the campfire, and a chance to foster new relationships within Hillel.
Sophomore Scott Albaum said the jump from the freshmen leadership retreat last year to the Beren retreat was good because he and other students had the opportunity to really get to participate in Hillel’s growth.
“Being with the upperclassmen and seeing everyone helped me feel more connected to Hillel,” Albaum said. “We got to really connect more this year to the Jewish community.”
Junior Emily Scholten didn’t get the chance to participate in the Beren Leadership series during her sophomore year, so she said she was really looking forward to attending the retreat.
“I really enjoyed the Beren retreat because it was a perfect mixture of fun games, Judaism, bonding, and self reflection,” Scholten said. “I think the retreat brought everyone closer and challenged everyone to reach outside of their comfort zone and make new connections.”