Montreal CEGEP and university students find peace at Parkside Ranch
By Maya Malkin
Christian students around Montreal came together for a retreat to celebrate their beliefs at Parkside Ranch on the weekend of Oct. 29.
The Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada, an organization that is involved in helping young adults to find and be transformed by Jesus Christ, organized the trip.
All English CEGEPs and universities in Montreal were invited and approximately 100 students attended. The students gathered at Lionel-Groux metro station on Friday and left for the nature retreat in a school bus at around 6:30 p.m.
Parkside Ranch was rented for the weekend, and is located in Orford, two hours east of Montreal.
“The main point is to take you out of the city, and to disconnect from the world of technology,” Esther Wuang, a member of Dawson’s Christian club said.
The students were involved in activities such as worship seminars, bible study and reflection time. Over the course of the trip they studied two passages; “Matthew 13:44” and “The Parable of the Lost Son.”
“We would highlight anything we found in the passages and look for similarities and everyone would ask questions,” Wuang said. “The nice thing is not one person was saying this is what it means, or this is what it says. We can decide for ourselves. No one told you what to think.”
There were other activities throughout the day such as hiking and sports, and the kitchen was open for board games and homework.
“The temperature the first day was okay, but then when we woke up the next day we had four inches of snow. It changed the landscape and how we look at it completely, it was really beautiful,” Barbara Ramirez, a member of Dawson’s Christian club said.
The students had a 7 a.m. wake up call and some stayed up until around 4 a.m., playing cards, and having a good time. “People are really free to do whatever they want,” Ramirez said.
After finishing all of the activities there was a dance party held for the students, who dressed up in costumes for Halloween weekend. “They taught us moves that were appropriate and told us what was not appropriate,” Wuang said. Every school had a theme, most being Disney movies. Dawson’s theme was Lion King. Other teams included Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and Mario.
“You meet all these people, it is a lot of fun,” Gregory Alengelenge, a member of Dawson’s Christian club, who attended last year but was unable to attend this year’s trip said.
The students arrived back in Montreal at around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.
“It was my second time going, and it was very good. I feel like I’m getting so much closer to God,” Wuang said.