Monday, 7 July 2014

Retreat Week Wrap up - Quotes & Notes

        Perhaps some of our regular readers have been wondering what happened to both the Saturday and Sunday posts? Well Saturday did not happen and yesterday, upon completing the following, I discovered I still had no photos.Well now I do have photos too, here you go...

   So the Retreat Week is now behind us and the Teams have scattered to five provinces. As I write, the Toronto Team should just be arriving at the bus depot there and everyone else has already been welcomed at their first location.

   It had been my plan to write about the week from my own perspective but, after returning home yesterday, mowing the lawns, cooking dinner for the New Brunswick Team, seeing them off with a “guide” to the Bus Terminus and falling into bed (at 830pm!!) I set about reading the 13 Feedback Forms and the package of 12 Thank You notes which each Team Member had written to me!!!

  Now Feedback Forms happen every year and provide an opportunity for the Team Members to comment on a variety of areas of the Retreat, anonymously if they so choose.

  But 12 thank you notes!!! Wow! I am presuming that one person had the idea and spread the word around. Several times I have been happily surprised to receive one big handmade Thank You card, signed by everyone, but TWELVE personal notes, never, not in over 20 years!

 So, having been struck speechless by such largesse, I’m handing over the rest of this post to the Team Members, first some “quotes” and then extracts from some “notes”…

I hope you enjoy their comments.

“I really liked the community we had this week.”

      “This past week has really brought me closer to God. Before coming to Day Camps I was really doubting it. But this past week reminded me of my very first year at day camps, it reminded me of why I loved the day camps, it was because of the leaders. They were really into what they were doing and did all they can for us to enjoy. This week made me realize how I want those kids to experience that joy that I once experienced and a whole part of it is being a great leader. Where is God in this? Before Day Camps I had thought of just giving up and dropping out. But I told myself there is a reason God put me here. So, I thought instead of running away from it, why not figure out what it is? And this week I figured out exactly what it is. And that made my faith to God a lot stronger.”

“This week has shown me that God can take an eclectic group of individuals and turn them into cohesive Teams.”

“This week has shed a new light on the people in doing the program and showed that the body of Christ can be magnificent when embodied.”

“… I can say that I am still on my way to becoming stronger in my faith again, and thanks to the Retreat I’ve made a pretty big step and some realisations.”

    And then there were the Thank You notes, each one so individually indicative of the character of the person who wrote it, so special. I just cherish this envelope!

To be thought “cool” by a 16-year-old boy, well that means a lot to me. Some of the others made me laugh, some made me cry. Here are a few extracts…

“…also thank you for being there when I needed you.”

“Thank you for dealing with me when I was half asleep. Thank you for volunteering to take care of us and giving up a lot of time.”

“Honestly when I first met you at the interview I was slightly scared. I saw how you interacted with Wil and how intense you can be and I was really not looking forward to Retreat Week. But over the course of the week I witnessed your hospitality and love of people. Least to say I got over my fear, otherwise I would not be here or back on day camps!”

“…so about the year round things like planning our manuals and folders, finding speakers for worship or team gatherings or the many other things you do as director. All of your time is spent bettering the program for the children and for us. I appreciate it so much. Thanks again for everything.”

“Thank you for the manners that you taught me, I will carry them to my billets’ houses.”

“Thanks for all your amazing organic food and all the planning and preparation you put into it.”

“ Though my etiquette may not be the best and my attention span has the equivalence of a fish, I am very thankful for the love and care you put into everything even if you seem grumpy sometimes! Which is okay because you are under a lot of pressure and we understand. You’ve been very helpful in my faith development and I can’t thank you enough!”

        Isn’t that last one marvellous?

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