NICOLE GUAY, DIRECTOR
The Oaks Retreat has served as a vessel for the Lord to move in my life so much throughout college. It has consistently been a group of people that show me what sacrificial love and joyful obedience looks like. As an incoming freshman people at the Oaks cared enough to walk alongside me in my fear and anxieties over what was to come, and showed me how to build the rest of my life on a firm foundation. Through serving as a counselor and on leadership I have continually seen people’s lives changed by the gospel at the Oaks, and it has made me love God more and challenged me to look more like Christ. I love The Oaks because it equips students with the Gospel that changes lives and seeks to glorify God!! It’s also the MOST fun!!!
DANIEL BOBBIT, DIRECTOR
I love the Oaks because I believe this retreat is the most effective and strategic means we have to spread the message of Christ in Auburn. The Lord is faithful and uses the Oaks to impact the trajectory of freshman’s lives—including my own. At the Oaks Retreat my freshman year I decided that my future wouldn’t be confined by pursuing worldly pleasures but would instead be dedicated to making Christ’s name known. I found discipleship, a church family, and my eternal purpose.
CAROLINE DAVIS, HEAD COUNSELOR TRAINER
Y’all! Sign up for the Oaks Retreat! I wouldn’t be the person I am today if the Lord hadn’t led me here freshman year. The Lord used the Oaks Retreat to help set me on a path to actively seek after Him and to seek out a community of believers that would spur me along in faith! It’s amazing what can happen when we invite the Lord into a space and give Him the glory. My freshman year, I was saved at the Oaks Retreat and then I had the privilege of coming back and getting to lead as a counselor my sophomore year! Then last year, I had the privilege to be able to serve as the Girls Counselor Trainer and now get to do it again! Praise the Lord for His faithfulness. I can’t wait to see the ways that the Lord will move this year and can’t wait to see those relationships forming with one another and with our Father in Heaven!
WALKER EIFORD, HEAD COUNSELOR TRAINER
After attending the Oaks as a freshman, I knew it was something I would want to be a part of in coming years. Every year that I have been apart of it, it has been such a blessing to see the faithfulness of our God to draw people to himself. I love the Oaks because we all get to unite behind one common goal: sharing the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
KATIE CLARK, SESSION COUNSELOR TRAINER
I love the Oaks Retreat because of how I have witnessed the Lord at work in the lives of many, including my own. Coming through as a freshman I saw the Lord grow my passion and desire for Him and to make Him known before even stepping foot in Auburn. It encouraged me to know that not only I can enter college with confidence in pursuing Christ but also that there would be others to do that with me. Then serving as a counselor I had the joy of witnessing the Lord grow freshmen before my very eyes. To see them go from being fearful to confident and trusting in the Lord is a privilege I will always cherish.
NOAH MOON, SESSION COUNSELOR TRAINER
The Oaks Retreat has been vital over the past two years in my walk with Christ. From being a freshman at the Retreat to functioning as a counselor last year, I have seen so many different ways in which the Oaks can have an impact on first-year students finding a Christian community here at Auburn, Southern Union, and Tuskegee. Ultimately, however, the Oaks Retreat points us not only to Christ’s church, but to Christ himself. I pray that everyone that comes to the Retreat this year can see the glory of Christ displayed, and that they would joyfully desire to become “Oaks of righteousness.”
KYRA FAIRLEY, HEAD OF PRAYER
The Father has remained abundantly and graciously faithful in using The Oaks for His glory and for the good of His children. I remember being utterly bamboozled as an incoming freshman when I heard the words “Great Commission” for the first time ever at The Oaks. Hearing this commission (that is really gr8) started to drastically change the way I was living because, by the grace of God, I started to finally understand what I was living for. I am living for the One who has given me life. Hallelujah! The Oaks Retreat has really opened my eyes to see the open arms of my Father. The love of Jesus is so beautifully threaded into everything about this retreat that one cannot help but pour out their entire heart to Him through song, stay up late talking about His faithfulness to people you have just met, and throw a big ole Luau themed dance party!!!
SALLY KICKLIGHTER, SESSION COUNSELOR TRAINER
I love the oaks retreat! I love it because there are such a variety of people there, and we’re all chasing after the same thing- growing and glorifying the Kingdom of God. I love it because freshmen get the opportunity to dance, play games and have a great time while getting to build Christ-like friendships. Freshman year can be so unknown and scary, and this is a great way to start off this new season of life! The Oaks Retreat is fun and Gospel-centered, and that’s why I love it!
KARLEIGH CROSS, HEAD OF MARKETING STRATEGY
The Lord is graciously allowing me to be a privilege witness to the Gospel working in the lives of freshmen, counselors, and leadership through the Oaks Retreat. The Oaks Retreat continuously increases my yearning to know the Lord greater and my desire to see His Kingdom come. The Lord has faithfully worked through the Oaks Retreat in my life to sanctify me and form community with others who push me toward the Gospel daily. I pray for the incoming freshmen to become Oaks of Righteousness through this retreat and foster community that is edifying and sanctifying. Being part of the Oaks Retreat is allowing me to watch hearts be radically changed by the Gospel, including my own.
MASON WAKEFIELD, HEAD OF MEDIA
VICTORIA STAPLETON, HEAD OF COMMUNICATION
The Oaks Retreat was a turning point in my walk with Christ. In high school, I didn’t truly know what following Christ looked like, but was eager to learn. When I got to the Oaks as an incoming Auburn freshman, I met so many people that had an overflowing joy that was foreign to me and I could see that they had clearly staked their lives on His promises. As a counselor, I got to watch the Lord glorify Himself by bringing people from death to life and breaking the heavy chains of sin for freshmen, counselors, and staff members. I am so excited to see how the Lord is going to work through this upcoming Oaks Retreat to build His Kingdom and edify His Church.
CONNOR MCCOY, HEAD OF RECRUITMENT & PARTNERSHIPS
As an out of state student I did not hear about the retreat and looking back on it I wish I had. Over the last couple years I have had the privilege to watch the lasting impact the Oaks has on people. Many find churches, friends, and ministries through it. However, what is most encouraging is seeing people choose to make their next four years solely dedicated to Christ. The beginning of my freshmen year did not represent Christ very well. For this reason, I have a strong desire to serve the oaks in any capacity in hopes of someone choosing to find freedom in this faith. It is one of my favorite organizations I have participated in.
FULLER MUSSELWHITE, HEAD OF OPERATIONS
JULIE BURROW, HEAD OF SUPPORT STAFF
Genuine joy & radical fun are two things I saw in the counselors/staff when I came to the Oaks as a freshman. These people who loved the Lord so deeply invited me into a community where I began to know the Lord in a radical way and in turn wanted to bring more people into that. This past year, I saw more closely the amount of prayer and work that others had done before me, so that I could experience that genuine joy and radical fun. Therefore, how could I not want to serve these incoming freshmen as someone, who I will never be able to thank, had once served before me. Now it is a joy and a blessing to serve the Lord through the Oaks knowing that this work is for His glory and His kingdom.
I love the Oaks Retreat because every year I get to witness the Holy Spirit move within me and throughout the retreat. Over the years I have learned how to be vulnerable, how to lead in humility, and how I am to live as a true follower of Christ. Without fail, God has surpassed my expectations for each retreat and I’m so excited to see what He has in store for this upcoming year.
ROSS STANFORD, HEAD OF SUSTAINMENT
I chose to be involved with the Oaks because I have experienced and seen firsthand what God is doing through the retreat. It’s an amazing sight to see people from all different churches and ministries come together to introduce freshmen to the Christian community at Auburn and Tuskegee. Oaks staff aren’t looking to sell freshmen on a particular church. We’re unified in the goal of making the gospel known to freshmen. It’s a blessing to be a part of the Oaks and help in building relationships that will last long after they leave the retreat.
MARY INGALLS DWYER, HEAD OF HOSPITALITY
Coming to the Oaks at the start of freshman year, the Lord revealed His faithfulness and provided a glimpse of the incredible community He would surround me with at Auburn. Coming to college, I prayed for the community and encouragement to my faith the Lord began to provide through the Oaks. The Oaks taught me that living for the world will most certainly lead to dissatisfaction, but living for Christ leads to eternal life and ultimate satisfaction!! I cannot wait to see the ways the Lord will move at the Oaks this year!
CHAD SYKES, HEAD OF MAIN SESSIONS
During my last couple years of high school I was following Jesus and wanted to live a life that pleased Him, but I was still immature in my faith and didn’t know what it looked like to do things like share the gospel with unbelievers or glorify God in all my life—more than just serving in church. I had heard about the Oaks but was hesitant to go because the idea of being around a lot of people I don’t know with lots of “hype” things truly does not appeal to me. But the Lord put it on my heart to go, so I did, and He used the Oaks to put people in my life who I would enjoy fellowship with and who would help me mature in my faith and find a church body to join. I’ve stayed involved with the Oaks throughout my time at Auburn because I have seen in my own life and in others’ how the Lord uses it to bring His Kingdom in many ways, and I want to—and am honored to—be a part of that work.
HANNAH SHAW, HEAD OF REGISTRATION
I love the Oaks because I have seen this ministry remain faithful from time I step foot on campus freshman year. This ministry encouraged me to choose Jesus in a time and a place where it is easy to choose the things of this world. At the Oaks, I found a community of people who love God, love people, and encourage you and equip you to do the same. I am confident that my life today would not look the same without the Oaks, and I am over the moon and humbled to be able to continue to be surrounded by these people.
ABBY THOMAS, ASSISTANT TO REGISTRATION
The Oaks is special to me because each year I’ve been a part of it I’m reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness and patience in drawing people to himself and supplying all our needs. It has been so sweet getting to experience and watch brothers and sisters in Christ care to bring freshmen in and walk with them through college. Year after year, I leave the Oaks more humbled by the gospel and encouraged to follow and obey Christ. He has used this retreat to grow my love for Him, and that is why I love it!
ABBIE BARRON, HEAD OF LOGISTICS
I love the Oaks because I’ve seen the Lord work so clearly through it each year. As a freshman it brought to light the weight of my sin and the immeasurable value of the Gospel, while immersing me in an incredible community of believers that has continually encouraged me throughout college. As a counselor, I saw more clearly the power of prayer and the faithfulness of the Lord. It’s such a joy and privilege to see how the Lord works in such big ways through the Oaks!!
GRACE LOVELL, ASSISTANT TO LOGISTICS
I love the Oaks because of the infinite beautiful ways that the Lord displays His love for us. As a wide-eyed freshman that had no idea what was in store for my first year of college, I instantly found my home among the people I met at the Oaks Retreat. Their passion for the Lord and for loving His people has been a catalyst for my own faith in Jesus Christ. The Oaks is more than a weekend retreat to meet some incredible people. It’s a place to encounter God, to study scripture, to grow in fellowship with fellow believers, and find your home as you begin this new chapter in your life. The Oaks has encouraged me in more ways that I could even count, and I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for this year!
ANDREW DISMUKES, HEAD OF FINANCE
I wanted to become part of the Oaks because it was a turning point in my life, setting me on a trajectory to experience Christ like never before. Before the Oaks I was lost, desperate, depressed, and needing the local Christian community at Auburn. Because of the Oaks, I found life, fulfillment in Christ, and a passion to pour into others. I wanted to become part of the team that made the Oaks possible, while being able to pay it forward to freshmen who might be going through the same struggles as I was.
KIERSTEN WARD, HEAD OF FUNDRAISING
Coming from out of state, I was very nervous to come to Auburn, leaving the familiarity of my small town in Augusta, Georgia. I remember arriving at the Oaks being anxious and simply hoping to meet people that I would be able to recognize around campus. Little did I know, the Oaks would change my life, bringing me some of the most genuine friendships I could ever wish for, a strong Christian community in my college town, leadership opportunities and most importantly, a seed of desire to chase Christ throughout my college journey. The Oaks has blessed me more than I could have ever thought possible, and it has truly been one of the best parts of attending Auburn University so far. I am excited to see what God does for so many others this year through this incredible ministry.