The 2019-2020 Lasallian Volunteers (LVs) gathered for the annual Midyear Retreat from January 17-19, 2020, at Pearlstone Retreat Center in Reisterstown, Maryland. The retreat, facilitated by Chris Swain, LV 04-06, and Katie Delaney, LV 12-14, was themed, “Rooted Together: Ful-ly Alive.”
Joining the LVs, LV staff and facilitators were Brothers Ed Phelan, James Martino, Lawrence Goyette and Richard Merkel. The LVs spent time reflecting on the past semester and their experiences of our three core values of faith, service and community as well as naming intentions, feelings and ideas they want to bring with them moving forward. Reflections tooks place as individuals, small groups, communities and large group.
The retreat incorporated a tree metaphor, beginning with a reading about Apsen trees, which while each being its’ own tree share a communal root system, reflecting the Lasallian Volunteers’ experiences as individuals, as well as the communities and relationships that nurture the LVs during their service year.
A tree was crafted out of brown paper, that the LVs added to throughout the weekend. At the beginning of the retreat, they added roots to the tree, representing their own rootedness to one another and ways they were going to be present to each other over the retreat experience. They then added leaves, representing actions, behaviors and activities that make them feel fully alive, which followed a session on positive emotional responses (being grateful, thankful, playful, joyful, hopeful—where the ful-ly aspect of the theme comes from). Lastly, they added sun rays, wind and rain representing ways in which they can nourish and exercise self-care personally and with one another during their service year.
The retreat gave participants space to recognize where they are personally, professionally and spiritually after a semester of service and give voice to what that means for their next steps. Whether that be the second half of their service year, discerning another year of service, discerning graduate school or other opportunities, the LVs were given time to reflect personally and listen and learn from one another in group settings.
One aspect of the retreat was inviting the LVs to reflect with their community members about how they see their life as mission. Part of that session was sharing written reflections from LV alumni about how they continue to live the values of faith, service and community after their time as a LV and beyond the Lasallian network.
“For me, the Midyear Retreat was an opportunity to actively listen to myself and others,” shared Albert Chic, a first-year LV serving at San Miguel High School in Tucson, Arizona. “To hear from those who have the same Lasallian spirit and following our own steps. It was a joyful and enriching retreat.”
The 2019-2020 LVs will gather for one final time as a cohort for the annual Debriefing Retreat at La Salle Manor in Plano, Illinois from May 22-25, 2020.
If you’re interested in becoming an LV or know someone who might be visit our website www.LasallianVolunteers.org to learn more about the application process.