Monday, September 14, 2009

Shinnyo-en Retreat July 24: An Adventure in Integrating Meanings and Commections: Theme: Service

I contracted with Marine County Door to Door Transportation (1-415-457-2717). Their van was old, but the driver was nice and we were able to enjoy the road to Marconi Center. We ate at a famous burger place in California: In and Out. The food was not expensive and good. They had veggie burgers for Emily.

I am writing this reflection in the month of September. The picture of the big rock now has even more meaning because Jeanie helped YAC get organized and focused with the story of "placing the BIG ROCKS or most important aspects first in our agendas for meetings and home groups."

Shinnyo-en and Youth Serve California organized the retreat. Jeanie and I shared a room. Sarah and Emily shared the room with adults and teens from other schools and non-profit organizations. Everyone loved their accomodations and roommates.

We arrived so early, we had time to shop and took an exploration walk as a team (the only time we spent together in the two days we were there). Jeanie told stories and we enjoyed and took in the beauty and peacefulness of the Marconi Center.

Registration was similar to last year's, with less pictures and videos because last year was the 10th anniversary of the retreat.

Official Opening: Haru and Liane were not there. That was a big dissapointment. We missed their presence. The retreat was meaningful. Maura thanked the Casady delegation for helping test the BE THE PEACE CARDS which were delivered to participants at the opening. It was nice to know that we were able to help Shinnyo-en in some form. They have been and are so nice to us.

Home Group Meetings After the inspirational opening, we met our home groups. Sarah's facilitators were Henry Lozano and Sammie Sevilla. Jeanie's were Brian Seilstad and Sher Moua. Emily's were Kent Koth and Gordon Graves.

Since I had some personal issues to work out, my facilitators Abby Nathanson and Sean McCreight were perfect. Their spiritually and sense of kindness,connectivity and reflection were incredible. My home group was what I needed to help me work through my personal needs. My goal this year was to be connected to others and ironically others connected to me in a very strong way.

Dinner was incredible as expected from the kitchen of Marconi Center

Age Cohort Meeting 1: We explored the meaning of service to us. Our group was small and we were able to get to know each other rather well. Our task was to answer the question: How have you and your friends used service as a means to support change and work for peace? Answers went from working at the White house to doing pinwheels for peace.

The day ended with open mike: Approaching Service through Music. I was told that it went very well, but I was too tired and went to bed.

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