2020 Vision in the New Year

2020 Vision in the New Year

During a recent weekend, 18 young people and six coworkers participated in the annual winter spiritual retreat held at La Salle Manor in Plano, Ill. The weekend provided all involved a chance to reflect and relax away from the stress of life and the city. They also enjoyed the chance to connect with one another on a deeper level as part of the weekends thoughtfully prepared activities. These retreats are the perfect place for our kids to have fun and build relationships in a stress-free environment.

The theme for the weekend was “2020 Vision.” The sessions and activities asked the youth to ponder the way they view the world, to challenge their respective worldviews, and to think about the blind spots that challenge them. In one activity, they took a “grit assessment” that helped them put their worldview into perspective. The metaphor was driven home as each youth used sandpapers of different grit to try to sand smooth a piece of distressed wood.

In another session, they created personal vision boards that represented a mission statement they each wrote for themselves. In an activity named “Portals” they learned about the difficulty of actualizing ideas by creating a free standing “portal” out of various sized PVC pipe.

On Saturday evening, each young person participated in a personal “Vision Quest.” Each was asked to spend some time meditating and relaxing, and then in silence, they were individually asked to journey through the building, reflecting on questions and writing their answers on pieces of paper. They were then asked to walk around the outside of the building where they encountered a fire pit. They were told to burn their reflections and to take some time to experience the quiet.

The journey concluded when they came back inside and received a packet of letters from family members, as well as Mercy Home coworkers and tutors—letters that cemented the support each has along their journey.

Mercy Home’s main approach to spiritual development is inclusivity, according to Manager of Spiritual Development Marc Velasquez. He explains to our kids that spirituality is about connection—whatever connects you to other people, connects you to the world, and makes you want to be a better person. And while many people find that in religion and prayer, others may find it in places like nature. Our kids are given a safe place to explore their spirituality and connect with it in whatever way they feel comfortable doing so.

Spiritual retreats like this one are a big part of both Marc’s job and our kids’ time at Mercy Home. Marc said it’s a time when he gets to be creative, try new things, and give our kids new opportunities.

“I’ve gotten to do a lot of really cool things with [our retreats],” he said.

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