campus wide alert

What to Bring, etc.

Dear Freshman:

We are delighted that you will be joining us for the "Make a Difference" Freshman Retreat. This promises to be a wonderful experience as you get together with classmates to learn about and prepare for the college experience.

Please report to Tom Smith Auditorium in Ketner Hall by 1:00 p.m. to get signed in for the retreat. Bring with you at this time your travel bag and your signed consent form. There are also several restaurants located close to campus.

After a brief orientation session, you will be transported to Johns River Valley Camp located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Transportation to and from the retreat is provided. Cell phone reception is poor in the mountains and your cell phone will probably not be operational. Should your parents or guardian need to reach you while you are at Johns River, the landline telephone number at the camp is 828-754-7067.

We will return to the Catawba campus at 3:00 p.m. on the last day of the retreat. There will be a brief commissioning service in Omwake-Dearborn Chapel upon our return to campus. Family members who can be present for the commissioning service are welcome. The commissioning will conclude by 4:00 p.m.

The retreat will consist of a variety of activities including small group discussions, presentations, informal time for getting to know one another, and the opportunity to participate in an optional worship service. Johns River Valley Camp offers hiking, swimming in a river, tubing and canoeing, tennis, volleyball, rock climbing, and other fun activities. We may take a short side trip to some waterfalls.

Dress is "shorts and tee shirts" casual (including the commissioning service) so you need only to "pack lightly". Temperatures in the mountains can vary and evenings may be cool, so you may want to bring a pair of long pants and something with long sleeves. Athletic shoes or boots for hiking are recommended, although the hiking trails are not that difficult. If you enjoy swimming, bring a swimsuit. When we tube or canoe, some kind of shoe or foot covering against the rocks is advised, such as an old pair of tennis shoes or the slippers that are specifically made for that purpose.

Bed linens, a light blanket, a towel and washcloth will be provided. A pillow is provided, although some prefer to bring their own favorite pillow. Also, you might want to bring an extra towel for water activities. Bring your personal toiletries (soap, shampoo, shaving cream, toothbrush, etc.). Bring a pen or pencil to write with. Other things you may consider bring: hat or cap, small flash light, shower shoes, sunscreen, insect repellant.

The full cost for this retreat is included in your enrollment deposit. There is no need for spending money while on the retreat as there is really not anywhere to spend money (snacks as well as meals are provided).

Finally, come prepared to make new friends, to learn much, and to have a great experience!

If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call me at (704) 637-4446 or 1-800-CATAWBA, extension 4446, or send an e-mail to Ken Clapp ( or Mrs. Penny Rice (

Best Wishes,

Kenneth W. Clapp  
Chaplain and Senior Vice President   Director of The Lilly Center

NOTE TO THOSE ATTENDING THE AUGUST RETREAT: You may move into your residence hall room prior to departing for the retreat. The Office of Student Affairs in the Cannon Student Center will be open at 9:00 a.m. and later to issue your room key. Also, August retreat attendees are permitted to spend Friday night in their residence hall room. Other freshmen will check-in on Saturday.