For any who do not know, Karios is a retreat through a catholic church for high schoolers. It takes place at a remote location over the course of 3 days and two nights. No phones are allowed on the retreat, and everyone is put into small groups, purposely with people they do not know. Over the course of the retreat you grow closer to God through talking to people who are able to lead you in the right direction.
Anyone who has been on Kairos can confidently say that it changed their life, I went as a junior in high school and can confidently say the same. At the time I signed up, I did not have much knowledge about Karios but I knew I wanted try it out. My whole life, I have been raised Catholic but I never really thought of the religion as my own, it was more of what I was told I was by all my family members. Kairos took the religion and made me want to be a Catholic for all the right reasons.
There are no words to describe the impact the retreat has on every single human that is lucky enough to go on it, but I will try my best. Since it was a church retreat, it was centered around God. However, never in the way any other retreat or church camp has been. Kairos is not a retreat where you learn the rules of the religion and are lectured about what is right and how to exactly follow the Bible. The adults and leaders of the small group allow the kids on the retreat to hear a passage and interrupt it the way they feel it should be. The messages are usually very clear, but little details and opinions vary from person to person. Through doing this, Kairos allows you to take your religion and make it your own, to embrace every passage and every guideline there is to offer. After Kairos, I started going to church every Sunday because I wanted to, it was no longer an hour I dreaded, but an hour I never wanted to end. After allowing myself to fully indulge into something that I had never experienced before, I loved going to church and learning more about lessons God wants all his followers to know.
Separate from the religion aspect of it, Kairos bonded me with people I would have never met. The three days of being so far removed from reality is eye opening. Throughout high school, people tend to only hang out with people in their friend group, and very rarely interact with others besides class or sports teams. My Kairos small group was with six other retreaters I did not know, two teenage leaders and two adult leaders. I am amazed how close and comfortable I got with every person in my group by the end of the weekend. We were no longer strangers, we knew each other's fears, dreams and secrets. I was able to be my complete self with a group of people that were strangers to me just a few days before. I have always been a pretty confidential person and kept my problems to myself, and Kairos was the first time I felt comfortable enough to open to people about things I had never talked about, even if they seemed insignificant. It is amazing that in such short amount of time, I found the comfort to talk about myself in ways I had not with my friends I had known my whole life. It sounds strange, but there really is something special about being removed from reality for a couple of days and focus on yourself and others. There was not a single second I was worried about missing out on anything with my friends back home or craving to check social media to catch up on everyone's daily tasks.
Life when I got home, was just happier. I felt happier inside and better about myself. There is an ongoing joke that the kids are on a "Kai High" when they return home because everyone is fulfilled from the amazing past few days. Many of the experiences on Kairos that truly changed me have to be kept a secret for anyone that has not been on it yet. Kairos is not a retreat that will make you change into someone that obsesses over the Bible or only hangs out with people from church, but it changes your outlook at life. It opens doors to new friendships while still upholding old ones, making it the best of both worlds. I am forever grateful I decided to go and throw myself into every activity in order to get the full benefits from the retreat.
I urge everyone that has the chance to go, TAKE IT! You will never regret it, nothing but good comes from it.