Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's all about me.

The six volunteers from Grace Presbytery. From left to right- Adrienne (N Ireland), Tad (Chicago), Laura (Guatemala), Edward (N Ireland), Lauren (New Orleans), and me

Before boarding planes and heading off to the 16 different sites around the world, all of the 2010-2011 Young Adult Volunteers meet in Stony Point, NY for orientation. Being an obnoxiously proud Texan, I wondered what a retreat center in Noo Yo-ahk could be like. What could be inspiring about a place just an hour outside of the Big Apple.

In short: everything

In long:

Stony Point is, from what I can tell, a small town seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Even though Manhattan is less than an hour away from here, it seems like the lifestyles are worlds apart. I'm sitting under the shade of just one of the many green, beautiful and big trees around the campus. There's a small cemetery toward the back of the property, with graves dating back to the mid 1800s. What really floors me about this retreat center, and how it stands out to me against others, is its honest commitment to its mission. There are gardens throughout the property, with plots of squash, tomatoes, and more. Much of the food is cooked with the locally produced food. The center does a good job, no, an excellent job of using fresh, local, healthy ingredients and preparing the delicious and creative dishes from scratch. There is a family staying here that was homeless prior to being at Stony Point. Just another example of how Stony Point extends its mission beyond being a retreat center.

I began this post during orientation, but am finishing it now after a week in Tucson-

This is only the second time that all of the Young Adult Volunteers, both national and international, have had a joint orientation. As I'm about to embark on a year in Tucson, AZ, but regularly heading south to Mexico, I feel like the joint orientation was very successful. There were moments, even, where I really felt like the orientation could've been all about me. Rick Ufford-Chase, one of the founders of BorderLinks, is the director of Stony Point. There's a YAVA (Young Adult Volunteer Alumnus) here who served at BorderLinks in her year in Tucson. Throughout the week I was able to converse with those two and learn more about what is going on in Tucson, and the different obstacles and experiences each faced along the way. The orientation, altogether, was very well organized to get just the right amount of information in a good amount of time. By the time Monday the thirtieth got here, I was ready to get on that plane and head to whatever adventures await in Tucson.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you got to hang out with Fox at orientation! She's one of my dearest friends from my YAV year and beyond! Hope you're doing great out there - glad to be reading your blog and I hope you keep yours up more frequently than I kept mine :D