From Gabrielle, February 24
Will you join me at the Retreat in West River? Last week, while working with the 3rd-5th graders on Making Sandcastles (and what it teaches us about resilience), part of the challenge was finding a partner to work with who was not a good friend. There were eleven (11) children in the room and and to a one they said, “we don’t have any good friends in here.”
I am not sure they caught my intake of breath but it was a haunting memory of the morning. Friends, for adults too, can be a primary reason that congregational life is attractive and confirmation of its value. If you have friends at RRUUC, whether you are 6 or 60 years-old, you keep attending. And that network of friends ends up, with your family, becoming that bigger village we all need to thrive. When the Rev. Sadie Landsdale celebrated her mother Lyn’s life two weeks ago in our Sanctuary, a sizeable number of the friends she had at RRUUC specifically, flew in to mourn and celebrate with Sadie. Don’t we all want this for our child (ren)?
As it turns out….friends are made with time spent together, more time than Sunday morning provides. Spending weekends together or even one overnight at a Retreat, increases the chances that these good & deep friendships develop.
The new location for the RRUUC Retreat has many requisite elements of friendship building, beginning with a good night’s sleep:) The mattresses are three times the size of the old ones, and there are cabins for far more folks, all centered around a cozy living room fronted by a covered porch to sit and listen to the water or kids running free. Human foosball, sailing, a great challenge course for 3rd graders and older, and so much more are resources to build friendships between children, youth and adults. Plus it’s only an hour away!
I hope you will join me there at West River — register now — .it’s a great opportunity to make a friend or maybe five (btw, friends are the #1 resiliency skill!). More info here
2 Responses to “Will You Join Me at the Retreat in West River?”
I attended my first retreat at Camp Tockwogh in 1996, just a few months after my husband and I joined RRUUC. We were adventurous and brought our 4-month old son! I met Lyn Lansdale, who was also attending with her family, at one of my very first retreats. We met at the swimming pool and chatted lazily between swims all afternoon. Several years later, Lyn and her family became part of my family’s pastoral care team, taking my kids for playdates so I could have some downtime from a sick husband, active children, and my job. Meanwhile, my son Thomas and Lyn’s youngest child Patrick had become friends through RRUUC’s RE program. For several years they attended each other’s birthday parties. Retreat activities—such as bike riding, archery, and motorboat rides—strengthened their friendship. Our families, continued to connect at subsequent retreats, and Lyn and I watched each other’s children grow up. I was deeply saddened by Lyn’s death.
For 20-plus years I have attended nearly every RRUUC retreat, first with my family and now solo; I look forward to many more. Retreats provide opportunities for families to have fun together, for parents to be together or have solitude. Every year we meet new people, nurture existing friendships, and experience new things.
It’s very hard to figure out how to grieve so many losses right now and the retreat is but one. I know our son, age 13, is actually connecting more to other youth at RRUUC right now, but the opposite is true for our daughter, age 9. I’m just holding this right now. In community, Bailey (Whiteman) and Doug (Belling)