The Student News Site of Archbishop Mitty High School

The Monarch

The Student News Site of Archbishop Mitty High School

The Monarch

The Student News Site of Archbishop Mitty High School

The Monarch

Retreat Leader Reflections

Brief reflections from Life Team members on their experiences leading retreats.
Dario Kuroda (top left), Sara Castro (third on the top), Santina Fowler (bottom left), and other retreat leaders

As the 2023-2024 school year winds down to a close and summer break is on the horizon, Archbishop Mitty seniors reflect on what it means to be a retreat leader and look back on memorable experiences. From fostering cherished memories to realizing personal growth, these seniors share what is most meaningful to them. Best of luck in your future endeavors, Class of 2024!


What made you decide to become a retreat leader?

Sara Castro–My own experience with retreats and seeing how much the student leaders helped me with my own life. I also wanted to serve as a role model for younger classes.

Denny Lee–I wanted to be more involved in the Campus Ministry program at Mitty. I had previously gone on the Agape and Quest retreats which were led by former Mitty seniors. They inspired me to do the same.


Is there anything about being a retreat leader that you are especially passionate about?

Sara Castro–Socializing and helping students open up. Making students comfortable enough to open up and create new friendships is something that fascinates me about being a leader as well.

Denny Lee–I am passionate about giving talks. They not only allow me to share a vulnerable part of my life but they also give me the opportunity to give meaningful advice to underclassmen


What is your most memorable moment of being a retreat leader?

Dario Kuroda–My most memorable moment came on the Quest retreat during an activity called “The Letter to God.” This is the first time I ever made someone else cry on a retreat. It reminded me of the power that we have as leaders to positively impact the lives of our retreatants. 

Santina Fowler–My most memorable moment of being a retreat leader was the individual reactions to my talk on Kairos. Seeing my peers be so positively affected by my words and my vulnerability meant a lot to me. 


Has being a leader shaped your perspective on others?

Dario Kuroda–Yes, it has. During retreats, we open up and share more about ourselves. We learn that we all have faults and that we are all in need of support. This really has opened up my eyes; it’s reminded me not to judge others and to be more accepting.

Sara Castro–Yes, it has allowed me to not judge someone right away and be comprehensive of others’ stories. In this way, being a leader has allowed me to truly put myself in other people’s shoes and be compassionate.

Denny Lee—Yes, being a leader has shaped my perspective on leading others. It is our responsibility to guide others, especially those who are new and inexperienced.We have to be there for them just as previous leaders were there for us. 


How has being a leader allowed you to grow/how has it impacted you?

Dario Kuroda–Being a retreat leader is one of my first leadership roles ever. I’ve always been on the other side, so I basically had to learn how to be a leader from scratch. Becoming a leader is actually really challenging. You have to be confident, compassionate, understanding, and bold. 

Sara Castro–Being a leader has allowed me to grow by learning and hearing different stories from all backgrounds. With these stories, I have been able to live my life in a way where I can think before acting and more importantly make wiser decisions. 

Denny Lee–Being a leader has allowed me to develop my social skills in addition to my leadership skills. Before senior year, I had a difficult time connecting with others as I was introverted. This year, I am confident in forming friendships and social connections.


How do you prepare to lead during the days preceding a retreat?

Denny Lee–Preceding a retreat, I prepare by writing my talk, if assigned one. I read the passage that corresponds with the retreat and think about the overall message. Then, I try to connect my own personal life to the passage through experiences and struggles. After writing the rough draft of my talk, I edit it looking at comments I have received from my retreat director. I practice my talk out loud by myself and in front of an audience. Besides packing, I mentally prepare myself to be a great leader in front of the underclassmen.


In your opinion, why is your leadership meaningful to the retreat experiences?

Dario Kuroda–As leaders, we have the power to change people’s lives. Whether it be our talks, our leadership in small groups, or just our presence, we can do some real good for people. 

Santina Fowler–Leadership is meaningful to the students’ retreat experience because it allows you to share your experiences and learn from others. While I have tried to serve as a role model for underclassmen, I have learned many things from them that I would’ve never seen. It opened my eyes. 

Denny Lee–Our leadership is meaningful to the students’ retreat experiences because it keeps the retreat so functional and personal. Without the leaders, there wouldn’t be any small groups and anyone to lead the activities. Also, knowing that the leaders sharing personal struggles and growth in their talks are seniors that have made it through their high school journey at Mitty is what inspires the retreat participants.


What advice would you give to future leaders?

Dario Kuroda–Be bold. Retreatants know when you’re not genuine. If you want them to open up, you have to first. 

Sara Castro–To not be afraid of being vulnerable with others and that it is okay to step out of your comfort shell every now and again.