This year’s freshman kickoff retreat started the semester strong with zip lines and rope courses in Banning Mills, a historic site in Carroll County, Georgia.
Upon arriving at the lodge sitting by Snake Creek on October 4, freshmen were separated into many small groups. These groups spent their time at the retreat together, enjoying numerous activities such as basketball, treasure hunts and building their cooperative abilities throughout the day. The teams serve the purpose of fellowship and community, making sure nobody was left out.
“My favorite thing about the retreat was doing the team-building activities with my friends,” said freshman Naomi Klinger. “The retreat was a great way to meet people from the other session of the ninth grade. All of the freshmen from both sessions went on this trip to hang out with friends and make new memories.”
The zip line courses are a prominent feature of Banning Mills. Over 100 zip lines span across the site, each one ranging from 20 to over 150 feet in height. They are all uniquely exciting and thrilling. Some are designed for those who prefer a more exhilarating experience, and others are made for those who want a more relaxing time in the woods. Many of them have scenic routes over Snake Creek Gorge, a lush, wooded area.
“There was a rope course and two zip lines: the easy one and the hard one,” said Klinger. “The majority of ninth grade chose the harder zip line. It was very fun going through it but terrifying that you might fall.”
Students from the entirety of the ninth grade bonded throughout the day, although people from different sessions may otherwise not meet often. The retreat was a particularly special experience for students new to The King’s Academy. These activities provided unique Christian fellowship and the chance to get to know more students.
“I feel like I got to know some of the Tuesday/Friday kids better. I got to just hang out with different kids than those I have classes with” said Sidney Duren. “The experience was really fun; I’m glad I went.”
The rope course was another main feature of the event. In total, Banning Mills has more than 700 feet of bridges and rope courses suspended in the sky over creeks and trees. These courses complement the 12 miles of trails they own on the ground. This makes Banning Mills a place for everyone, even those who aren’t comfortable with heights.
“I would definitely recommend this to the next year’s freshmen,” said freshman Ryan Newcom. “Even if they are scared of heights, they should definitely do it. I loved it. My favorite part was just figuring out the ropes course with my friends.”