Boston College

Halftime - a program which BC students traditionally attend during their sophomore, junior, or senior year, gives students a chance to step away from campus to reflect on where they have been, where they are, and where they are going

Format

  • Audience: Mostly sophomores, one program for seniors
  • When: Halftime retreats run for 3 days (from Friday dinner until mid-day Sunday).
  • Frequency: Five Halftime retreats offered in August (2 retreats), October, February and March.
  • Approximate Number of Participants: 25-40 participants
  • Focus of Retreat: Participants focus on the “3 Key Questions”: What brings me joy? What am I good at? & Who does the world need me to be? Participants turn their attention to themes related to the integration of academic, social, and spiritual aspects of their lives. 
  • Other Participants: 8 student leaders and 9 faculty/staff members attend each Halftime and are asked to help student leaders facilitate small group sessions and share very brief stories from their own vocational paths during the weekend.                                                          

Funding & Operations

The program is now fully funded by Boston College’s Center for Student Formation.

  • External Support: Boston College originally received a grant from the Lilly Foundation.
  • Operations: A typical Halftime costs approximately $15,000.  This amount covers the use of the retreat center, meals and lodging, travel and operating costs for a group of 60 people for three full days.
  • Other Roles: BC’s Center for Student Formation oversees the program. The full time Assistant Director for Student Formation and a part time (20 hours) graduate assistant coordinate all aspects of the Halftime retreats (though these positions are not dedicated to this program). These staff members work with the Director for Student Formation in the recruitment and training of 50 student leaders and 45 faculty & staff to produce the retreats.

Description

Halftime is a three day retreat which allows students to connect with faculty and staff mentors to reflect on their college experience and gain basic skills in vocational discernment. By asking themselves the “3 Key Questions”: What brings me joy? What am I good at? & Who does the world need me to be?, participants turn their attention to themes related to the integration of academic, social and spiritual aspects of their lives.  At each Halftime retreat 8 student leaders and 9 faculty/staff members moderate small groups, give reflective talks about their lives and serve as conversation partners for the students throughout the weekend.

History

Boston College Received funding from the Lilly Foundation as a part of their 2000 grant program, Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation. This gave Boston College an opportunity to create an initiative that engaged faculty, staff and students on the themes of vocational discernment and purpose. In addition to faculty/staff seminars that focused on institutional mission, a 3-day retreat was created that invited students to focus on purpose and vocations in a very broad sense.  This program, known as Halftime, allows student to join faculty/staff mentors in a structured program of vocational discernment. Since its inception fourteen years ago, Halftime has served nearly 4,000 students and engaged over 700 faculty/staff members in this process of reflection.

Recommended Resources

Halftime Program:

http://www.bc.edu/offices/formation/programs/Halftime.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRKpGBxV978

 Boston College produced a video featuring Fr. Michael Himes, a very popular faculty member of our theology department. This video focuses on the “Three Key Questions” for vocational discernment and can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRGvhe1CKmg

This video serves as the focal point of a Halftime weekend.  Additionally, we use a pamphlet entitled “The Pocket Guide to Jesuit Education,” also produced by Boston College. This guide gives a brief outline of the basic characteristics of a Jesuit education and introduces vocational themes that are central to the program. http://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/offices/mission/pdf/UMMSC_Digital_Assiets/BC_Pocket%20Guide%202014_WEB%20FINAL.pdf

While not used directly in the program, the concept of student formation is the guiding principal behind Halftime.  The document, “A Journey into Adulthood,” is used by faculty and staff to gain a better understanding of the Halftime program and how it relates to BC’s mission. http://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/offices/mission/pdf1/umm1.pdf

Administration/Operations

The program is now fully funded by Boston College’s Center for Student Formation. Boston College originally received a grant from the Lilly Foundation. A typical Halftime costs approximately $15,000.  This amount covers the use of the retreat center, meals and lodging, travel and operating costs for a group of 60 people for three full days. BC’s Center for Student Formation oversees the program. The full time Assistant Director for Student Formation and a part time (20 hours) graduate assistant coordinate all aspects of the Halftime retreats (though these positions are not dedicated to this program). These staff members work with the Director for Student Formation in the recruitment and training of 50 student leaders and 45 faculty & staff to produce the retreats.

Assessment

Program evaluations have been a regular feature of the Halftime program and one formal assessment of the program, including focus groups, was completed several years ago with the help of a researcher from the Boston College Lynch School of Education. Focus groups of students who participated in the program proved to be the most helpful in this process.