The 2017-2018 Lasallian Volunteers (LVs) gathered as a cohort for the final time at the annual Debriefing Retreat from May 25-28, 2018, at La Salle Manor in Plano, Illinois. Their time together was an opportunity to reflect, rest and reconnect with one another.
The retreat was facilitated by LV Alums Scott and Alina Baietti, LV 08-10, for the third year in a row. “Debriefing is always a pleasure to facilitate,” shared the Baiettis. “We love being at La Salle Manor where we have a lot of great memories from Debriefing when we were LVs. The facility and grounds help us enter our own state of peace allowing reflection. The group this year was very introspective and collaborative, which made us feel the calm even more. We are so thankful for the LV staff, LV Alums and Christian Brothers who help us make it an amazing weekend for the LV Cohort.”
The theme for the weekend was “LVs at Sea.” The Baiettis invited the LVs to think about their journey and if the ship they started their service year on was the same they ended it on, if the waters (experience) ebbed and flowed, and who or what impacted their year.
LV Alums Samantha Almanza, LV 09-11, Chris Hueg, LV 11-13, Shanae Farrell, LV 12-14, John Tudisco, LV 15-16, and Brothers Ed Phelan, Michael Reis, Stephen Markham and Michael Kadow accompanied the 35 LVs. Alums present helped facilitate sessions on what comes next, highlighting going to graduate school, returning for a second or third year, going to work, and being unsure of what the future holds.
For first-year LV Ashley Weinberger, who is serving at La Salle Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she shared, “Debriefing was an opportunity to reflect on the highs and lows of my service year and helped me to decide what I want to accomplish for next year.”
When reflecting on her experience and the Debriefing Retreat, second-year LV Rachel Waletzko, serving at De La Salle Elementary in Memphis, Tennessee, shared, “For me, as an exiting second-year volunteer, the Debriefing Retreat was a final opportunity to feel the gravity of and gratitude for each person’s presence in the cohort, as well the LV staff, LV alums and Christian Brothers who have closely accompanied me the past two years. There was time to share cherished memories as well as trials and lessons learned that will remain with me as I step out of the carefully crafted web of Lasallian Volunteer support and start a job as a third grade teacher at a Catholic school. Though the weekend was overcast with the reality that I will, in a sense, be leaving Lasallian ministry at the end of my service year, the weekend refueled the internal Lasallian fire that began at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota six years ago – the desire to bring the Founder’s mission with me wherever I may be called.”
On Sunday evening, the program recognized the 18 LVs who will be exiting the program to pursue graduate school and work. One of the exiting LVs has been hired on at their ministry for the next school year. Three of the exiting LVs will pursue master’s degrees as LV Scholars at Lasallian colleges/universities. The program also witnessed the renewal of vows from the Brothers present as they celebrated Trinity Sunday.