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The courage to treat people better

Counselor Megan Latch looks on as Twin Bluff Middle School students participate in Mongo Volleyball. The game was part of the Tuesday morning activities of a daylong Courage Retreat at the Red Wing Family YMCA. (Republican Eagle photo by John Russett)

Decibel levels rose with the energy as Twin Bluff Middle School students began their day in the YMCA gym.

Seventh-graders, along with high school leaders and middle school staff, spent Tuesday at the Red Wing Y as part of Courage Retreat to inspire students to take a look at the way they treat others.

The beginning of the day was full of activities designed to get the students out of their comfort zone and into trying new things, said Megan Latch, Twin Bluff Middle School counselor and one of the staff responsible for bringing the program to Red Wing.

Latch said it was important to do the retreat early in the year so the impact could be felt as soon as possible.

Students in middle school are starting to find their identities, Latch said, and if you can stress the positives, it pays off as they move forward.

Youth Frontiers ran the retreat. The group puts on retreats like the one for Twin Bluff Middle School all across the country, although the majority of their clients are in the Midwest. For the 2013-14 school year, Youth Frontiers is scheduled to provide 745 retreats for 119,000 students and educators, according to the group’s website.

Youth Frontiers also came to Red Wing in 2004 and 2005.

“There were immediate results,” said Jamie Lang, Twin Bluff Middle School social worker who also helped organize this retreat. She noticed a lot more tolerance and kindness in the students’ interactions after the previous retreats.

Latch said the retreat would not have been possible without being paid for in full by the Jones Family Foundation.

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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