Senior Sara Joy has been on four Oakgrove retreats in her four years at Venice. “This was my favorite. I have never connected so deeply with people,” said Joy, co-chair of this semester’s retreat, which was attended by about 70 students.
The latest trip was on March 17, 18 and 19 at Camp Eaton in the Angeles Crest National Park. Oakgrove is a weekend retreat that students from Venice High attend in order to build relationships and friendships with other students that they see every day. Oakgrove has been a Venice High tradition for over 40 years, and students are able to go on a retreat once each semester.
Junior Max Melika has been on a retreat three times, and this past time he was on council, the students who organize the event.
“This Oakgrove was different from the others because not only was the council diverse, so was the group of campers,” said Melika. Melika believes that by being on council “you gain a different perspective and respect for Oakgrove.”
“It is a safe place where you can truly express yourself without the fear of being humiliated,” said Melika.
Students are put into trust groups with people that they may not know much about. Each trust group has a council member to watch over that specific group and lead activities and discussions.
Junior Olympia Miccio, who was on this past Oakgrove council, said that being on the council is “a whole lot of hard work, but really rewarding” in the end. Oakgrove is “unconditionally accepting and supportive of every person,” said Miccio.