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Before you dive into C.U.B. Week, we’re taking you on a special adventure to bond with your fellow incoming students. One of the wonderful things about Principia is how small it is, and because of our small size we want you to know, value, respect—maybe even love—all the members of your incoming class.

Skills for Bridging the Gap

On this adventure we will walk you and your classmates through a program called “Skills for Bridging the Gap,” designed by Interfaith America. Bridging the Gap envisions a society where, in Interfaith America’s words, “the heroes are bridge builders.” In this program you’ll learn skills for how to engage with others across deep divides so that you can authentically value people who may be very different from you.

First, you’ll explore why, based on your spiritual or religious worldview, you might want to build bridges at all (for us at Principia, a Christian Science college, our motives are grounded in Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan, in which Jesus taught that we must love our neighbor—and our neighbor isn’t necessarily from our neighborhood!). You’ll then learn skills like how to truly listen to others, how to share stories about your values and worldviews, and how to navigate tension constructively and engage in difficult conversations.

You can read more about the Bridging the Gap program curriculum here.

All cabins have air conditioning and private bathrooms.

The Retreat

Your retreat begins the day after you arrive on campus in August, and it lasts for four days and three nights. We’re taking you on a trip to the beautiful, relaxing, fun and all-inclusive setting of CedarS Camps in Lebanon, Missouri, about three and a half hours away from campus. Here you can participate in activities that help you put the Bridging the Gap skills into immediate practice with your peers.

When you’re not actively engaged in learning Bridging the Gap, you’ll be able to choose connection-building experiences based on your comfort, activity, and interest level. Choice of activities will range from arts and crafts to conversation groups, to indoor or outdoor sports, to pool swimming and lake kayaking, to more challenging experiences such as waterskiing, archery, ziplining, or horseback riding. We will ask all students to engage in one low ropes activity to whatever degree they are able to participate. (You won’t be expected to swim or wear a swimsuit if that is not comfortable for you.)

We want you to have fun and support your classmates through these activities. You’ll have many opportunities to get to know each other deeply, including by staying in (single gender) cabins with members of your house back at Principia. (The cabins are all air conditioned, and each has private bathrooms.) This retreat is a special opportunity to live, eat, and bond with the people you will spend the next four years with at Principia.

CedarS Camps is the perfect location for this retreat. While CedarS is a Christian Science based organization that provides summer camp experiences for Christian Science youth, you should know that you will be engaged in an interfaith program, in which all students will have the opportunity to share and discuss their individual faith practices and spiritual perspectives. Bridging the Gap teaches respect for religious diversity without proselytizing on behalf of any religion. We expect you to be respectful and friendly towards the religious nature of both CedarS and Principia College—and to be respectful and friendly towards the faith backgrounds of all students. With this approach in mind, we hope you will enjoy a transforming and uplifting pre-fall retreat that sets you up to succeed in your student journey at Principia College!