At USC, many of the clubs on campus have semesterly or annual club “retreats.” These retreats typically occur at the beginning of the year or semester when new members have just joined the club. They are a great way for the new members of the club to bond with old members, integrate into the community, and are generally just a fun way to let off some steam and go somewhere fun. Last weekend, USC Makers had our semesterly retreat and this year, we went camping in the Santa Anna mountains!
In all honesty, I was a little skeptical about camping, mostly because I am not that much of an outdoors person. I like a little hike here and there, sure, but camping? In the woods? It seemed ambitious to me, but our Director of Events, who planned the whole thing, assured everyone that there would be bathrooms and running water, and wouldn’t be too far from civilization. So off we went!
We all met on campus and distributed gear, supplies, and people into different cars. For retreats, typically some students have a car and volunteer to help drive everyone to the destination. The drive was around an hour and a half, and I got to bond with two new members in the car.
Then, we unloaded the gear and set up tents! We also set up a “hammock village” in the trees where lots of people strung up their hammocks to sleep in them for the night instead of the tents. We distributed sleeping bags and other gear amongst our members and then set off for our hike.
We went to a spot that, apparently, is a waterfall during the spring and winter, but was dry when we went. This ended up being fortuitous, as lots of our members love rock climbing and decided to scramble up the waterfall. After we hiked, we went back to camp and started grilling burgers, veggie burgers, and hot dogs for us to eat dinner. After dinner, we made smores, talked, and played games for the rest of the night. In the morning, we made pancakes before cleaning up and heading back to campus!
The retreat ended up being really fun, and I feel like we all bonded as a club a lot as a result. It was a really great way to just kick back, disconnect, and enjoy a fun day with people I enjoy spending time with. Makers, and many other student organizations, values community and supporting one another, and this was the manifestation of that. Now, I feel much more recharged and ready to take on the year!