By Carissa Krautscheid
For many participants, Kairos is a deeply impactful yet indescribable experience. For prospective participants, Kairos may be a mystery of infamous secrets. Perhaps the observable common ground is the change that Kairos inspires in individuals and then filters to the larger community. Retreatants return beaming, embracing former strangers who’ve now become friends.
But what is Kairos?
The Greek word “kairos” means the right or opportune moment of indeterminate time in which everything happens. Its opposite is “chronos,” meaning chronological or sequential time. While on retreat, we ease away from our dependence on chronos and focus more closely on kairos, fondly understood as “God’s time.”
Kairos is an initial opportunity to encounter God where we are in our lives. During the four day experience, students reflect upon their relationship with God, family and friends. Students learn about themselves and others. What else happens on Kairos? Below are some reflections from students and adults, sharing about their Kairos experiences.
“The most enjoyable part of Kairos is meeting new people and becoming close to the people you have never talked to. I was surprised by how much Kairos affected me. I was surprised that four days could give me a whole new appreciation for my family, my friends and myself.” -Emma Kinnison ‘19
“Kairos is one of the best activities that Salpointe has to offer. It allows Salpointe students to walk in the shoes of others and get new perspectives that change the way they look at everyday life.” -Sam Scherer ‘19
“I think Kairos is a great retreat for everybody to attend even if you are not religious or Catholic. While you are there, you will be able to reconnect with yourself and make friends that you would never think you’d make!” -Izzy McGibbon ‘19
“Personally, after my Kairos experience, I felt that I learned to grow into myself and appreciate both my flaws and strengths for what they were. Not that there was nothing to work on, but instead I learned to be comfortable in the process of being myself and bettering myself at the same time.” -Carmen Rivero ‘19
“I have carried Kairos on after the retreat by trying to be kind and mindful every day of my life.” -Grecia Anaya ‘19
Many Salpointe alumni think of Kairos as their most cherished high school memory. Many recognize the difference Kairos had on the trajectory of their character and life. “As a student on Kairos,” said Ms. Anyssa Soto Anthony ‘11, “I remember having my eyes opened to God in many different forms in my life. I also remember realizing that it's okay to trust others during our struggles; we have to remember that even the people who hide it the best can be going through tough times - just because those tough times are not the same as ours, no problem in life is too small.”
Adults also have the wonderful opportunity to attend Kairos as observers and leaders. It is just as rewarding to be a part of Kairos as an adult.
“As my first time experiencing Kairos, I was just overcome with thought, emotions and thankfulness that our school community cares so deeply for the whole body, mind and soul of our students which is such a beautiful thing. I highly encourage anyone who has not experienced Kairos to do so; the benefits are mind-blowing and truly touching.” -Ms. Ericka Quintero, theater teacher
“I go on Kairos so that I can interact with more students than I teach. I also go so that I can support students on a Kairos experience that I cherished as a student … Other faculty and staff should consider going on Kairos because the students love the experience and truly enjoy having us faculty and staff members there with them. It is such a rewarding experience to see your students grow in their relationship with God, but also open up to friends they didn't have before Kairos.” -Ms. Anyssa Anthony, math teacher
“Kairos is my annual reminder that our students deal with a myriad of ups and downs when they're not sitting in front of me in the classroom. I gain new gratitude for what they’re going through. I enjoy getting to know my colleagues more intimately, interacting with students in a different context.” -Mr. Jeremy Bogard, Spanish teacher
“I return from Kairos feeling so much more connected to my Salpointe community, with a deepened sense of belonging. As a staff person, I find that Kairos is one of the best ways for me to get to know students. I couldn’t imagine going a whole year without Kairos; I’d miss out on knowing so many incredible students.” Ms. Carissa Krautscheid ‘11, Advancement Department
What do students think about the adults on Kairos?
“It was really fun getting to know my teachers in a sphere outside of the classroom!” -Grecia Anaya
“I was very thankful for all of the adults on the two retreats that I was able to attend. I think they were key to making the retreat what it truly is meant to be.” -Izzy McGibbon
“The adults on my retreats were very welcoming, focused and kind-hearted when it came to their intentions in bettering the retreat and helping the students.” -Carmen Rivero
“I did enjoy the adults on my retreat. I had a good rapport with them and they were able to support me throughout the journey of leading. They gave new perspective and were able to guide me when I was feeling overwhelmed. I think it is a special thing to watch teachers you have always looked up to open up and be vulnerable, and it made me more comfortable to do so as well.” -Emma Kinnison
Each person, adult or student, impacts the retreat in a profound and unexpected way. Kairos has a place for everyone and has something to offer everyone, no matter where you are at in your life.
Cartoon drawing by Luz Hidalgo ‘20