YMAD RETREAT AUGUST 9-10 By Grace Bergstedt

Last weekend we had an awesome YMAD retreat, and Ashley was so nice to hos us all at her cabin!

We started out the retreat by meeting at Ashley’s house. From there, we all got into cars and rode to her cabin. When we got there we ate tacos, fruit, and vegetables for dinner. After dinner, we got our packing lists and turned in our fundraising money. We discussed the clothing, medicines, and materials needed for when we go to India. We also got numbers so we will be able to know if someone is missing in the airport or in India. That night, we had an important lesson on compassion. We did two exercises focused on compassion. One of them began as we all stood in a circle. Ashley read off statements such as “I have felt lonely in the last week, I have cried myself to sleep, I know someone or have parents that have been divorced, or I have felt like I am not enough”. Each time one of these statements was true to one of us we would take a step into the circle. We were all surprised at how much we all had in common. The second activity involved every person directly facing another, creating two lines. For this one, Ashley said things such as “What is this person’s greatest fear?” or “What is this person’s greatest disappointment?”. We were instructed to stay silent and look the person across from us right in the eyes as the questions were posed in our minds. We learned that you never know what someone is going through, so it is best to be kind to everyone, and be that person to reach out and be a comfort to someone else. One of the important quotes we heard that night was by Mother Teresa and it reads, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other”. This is important because we need to be there for each other. Without people to lean on, life can often be unbearable. This quote explains that peace is founded on the compassion and understanding of others.

Later that night, we had our talent show! There were magic tricks, dances, songs, ukulele players, rubber band shooters, kazoo players, and recorder players. No one could forget the leaders hilarious dance choreographed by Kira! After the talent show, some settled down and did henna. Soon after that, we went to bed because we had to get up bright and early the next morning!

When we woke up we had breakfast, and then started right into learning our new group song, “Jump Right In”. We also practiced our group dance! When we had nearly mastered it, we made bracelets to give to the kids in India. Then we were all given a sheet of paper with clues about certain people in our YMAD group. There were about six clues on each page, and we found out that the people who matched the clues would be in our village group in India. Everyone was so excited to figure out who would be in their group!

At the end of the retreat, everyone was given new YMAD shirts! We took pictures, cleaned up, and headed for the road! Thank you to all the leaders who made it such a successful retreat!