We ask for feedback from group leaders after every retreat. It’s good to get some affirmation but it is also useful to get ideas to help us improve the retreats we offer. Here is a selection of what you have been saying about our retreats over the past few months:
“Our candidates benefit year after year from the amazing experience they have at SPEC”
“Another wonderful weekend at SPEC for our confirmation group. The staff were amazing and reached our candidates in a way that we, as older catechists, are never able to. The candidates can really relate to the young volunteers at SPEC.
The sessions were thoughtfully planned and structured with 13 and 14 year old teenagers in mind. I particularly loved the meditation and fishing net activity on Sunday morning.
The games and ‘fun’ aspect of the retreat were great and really helped our candidates who didn’t know anyone else to bond and socialize. We all LOVED the quiz night.
SPEC is a wonderful part of our diocese and we are so lucky to have access to it. Our candidates benefit year after year from the amazing experience they have at SPEC. It deepens their spiritual journey and begins their thinking about their relationship with God.
Thank you SPEC for a fantastic weekend!”
Catechist at Our Lady of Lourdes – Harpenden
“She wished the retreat day was Groundhog Day so she could live it again and again!”
The overall programme: The programme was well thought out and pitched perfectly to the group.
The activities: Excellent, the games were fun and at the puzzle was well resourced with a clear message for the Candidates to take away with them.
Anything you would change: Nothing.
The team: I thought the team were excellent. They understood how to work with this particular age group exceptionally well. For example, during the question and answer section the candidates were allowed to lounge on pillows and were not corrected for doing so. I believe this attitude led to the Candidates feeling welcome and respected. In turn, the candidates asked questions that surprised me with the depth.
Prayer times, liturgy, Mass: This was a special time and I really appreciated so many members of the team attending Mass and being such good role models to the Candidates on how to behave with respect in the Chapel. As such there was very little if any disruption during the Mass.
Any other comments: There is a girl in the group who has been extremely reluctant to join in with the Confirmation programme and it has been a struggle to engage her. Her mother approached Fr Tim on the evening of the retreat and said her daughter told her that she wished the retreat day was Groundhog Day so she could live it again and again!
Thank you to the whole team. You have been fantastic from start to finish. I have spoken at the recent Deanery Meeting of what a positive retreat we had. I thought your environment, course and team were exceptional. I feel very blessed to have this resource so close to our Parish. Thank you to everybody who contributed to the retreat. It was really appreciated by all.
Confirmation group – Northwood
Year 11 Retreats
“Making the rosary was really fun.” Student, St Augustine’s Priory
“Good, engaging sessions with lots of interaction… An excellent day.” Teacher
“The SPEC team have delivered a strong retreat programme which has exceeded my expectations.” Teacher
Year 10 Retreats
“[The retreat] helped me to open my mind to forgiveness, like when Pope John Paul II forgave his shooter.” Student, More House
“The retreat made me relate more to God and realise He will always love me.” Student, Worth Abbey
“A good balance of spirituality and fun. Engaging. The students have said that they feel more religious and closer to God.” Teacher
“The volunteers and leaders have been excellent. They have shared openly and honestly, which has really allowed the boys to truly engage… Adoration and Mass were special and indescribable.” Teacher
Year 9 Retreats
“The staff were extremely friendly and the rooms were very good. This retreat really helped me to learn about myself. Thank you for this opportunity.” Student, Our Lady of Lourdes
“Can I say what a fantastic retreat we had on Friday. I think it was our best ever trip to SPEC. The girl’s had a fantastic and enriching time. Can you please pass on my thanks to all the team for the wonderful work they did.” Teacher
“We’ve had lots of positive and encouraging feedback from the students; reflecting how much they enjoyed the various events. The retreats were clearly a resounding success. May God bless you all in the important work you do – giving witness to the Gospel and nurturing the faith of young people in the Diocese of Westminster.” Teacher
“The testimonies brought reality to discipleship and the personal relationship that we have with God.” Teacher
Year 8 Retreats
“The retreat bought me closer to God in an interactive and enjoyable way.” Student, Cardinal Vaughan
Year 7 Retreats
“The Year 7s have departed with a deeper understanding of who Jesus is for them, in their journey of faith.” Teacher
Year 6 Retreats
“Lovely reflection time during meditation… a very enjoyable experience.” Teacher
“The children had a wonderful day, they really enjoyed it and learnt a lot. The staff were lovely, very helpful and cheerful. Many thanks.” Teacher
“SPEC has an amazing team who have worked so hard to inspire all the children and adults included… This has been invaluable and for most, a life-changing experience.” Teacher
“The retreat went beyond my expectations, and I found it very useful in seeing how the leaders delivered meditation and the use of drama for the parables. The children genuinely felt it was the best school trip they had been on and lots of the children said they felt closer to God and now had a much better understanding of prayer.” Teacher
Year 5 Retreats
“A fantastic theme which the children really enjoyed… Mass was beautiful, the children commented on how special it had been… Another fantastic retreat – thank you so much.” Teacher
“The pupils were captivated. The response and comments made by the children showed real reflection.” Teacher
“The leaders have all been wonderful, the children have loved them and they will remember this for their lifetime. Thank you.” Teacher
“Awesome, don’t want to go home, can we come back?” Student
“The children said that they really enjoyed all the experiences.” Teacher
“Fantastic to have a link to the Year of faith. Sessions were great fun with excellent religious content.” Teacher
“Lovely to hear childrens’ thoughtful and prayerful responses. The children were overheard praying and singing hymns independently this morning.” Teacher
“Children have felt happy, safe and closer to God. Well done!” Teacher
“Full of stimulating and very planned activities that engaged the children and got them to reflect on their faith and those around them.” Teacher
“Good opportunities were provided for children to listen to parables/bible readings and adoration. The children enjoyed and participated well during prayer times.” Teacher
“The children seem to have really benefited from having the chance to reflect and pray.” Teacher
“The children had a wonderful time there. They didn’t want to return home.” Teacher
Year 4 Retreats
“It’s as good as Legoland.” Student
“The team were all friendly and great with the children. They were full of youthful enthusiasm. The children loved their retreat day.” Teacher
“The children were engaged and thoroughly enjoyed all of the sessions. A very enjoyable day had by all!” Teacher
“It complemented our teaching at school, reinforcing all the messages.” Teacher
“Beautifully led, rooted in prayer and fun. The team at SPEC do an amazing job.” Confirmation Retreat
“They have bonded with each other well; and I feel that this will strengthen them not only in school but in the parish too.” Confirmation Retreat
“I think the retreat was very beneficial to the group. They leave with a deeper sense of how to develop their faith.” Confirmation Retreat
“A truly valuable weekend. A great experience and help in their faith journey.” Confirmation Retreat
“The retreat was well planned and delivered.” Confirmation Retreat
“Some of them have said how encouraged they were to see other young people in the team giving of themselves to others.” Confirmation Retreat
“The retreat was inspirational and meaningful, with beautiful messages given at their level.” Year 3 & 4 Retreat
“Very good, nice homemade food, and lots of it.” Confirmation Retreat