By Charlotte Garcia
The first Diocesan College Conference was a huge hit! We had 15 young adults in attendance, and Frank Townsend, Charlotte Garcia, Turner Guidry, and the Rev. Ian Williams were around and available to support.
The idea to host the college conference came to be when two Camp Henry counselors approached diocesan leadership at the end of summer with a wish and a dream to be in community more often and the desire for more support throughout the year. Jack Anderson and Dottie Benninghofen were passionate and excited about planning a winter leadership retreat.
We originally planned for a conference with workshops focused on leadership and working with youth. Once the planning team focused more on the personal needs of the young adults in our diocese, we discovered it would be more beneficial to have a conference focused on growing faith, diving into our spirituality, and having a safe place to heal past trauma. While in the beginning stages of planning, Jack Anderson developed a Mission Statement that says, "Establish a college community that is focused on growing faith, becoming leaders, and bettering society."
So many positive interactions happened over the three-day event at Lake Logan, and many deep connections were made within the group.
"This time of year can be so stressful. This was a bright spot and gave me a great opportunity to connect with others," said Dottie.
"As someone who is new to professional life in the diocese and has grown to love this community very much, I was very blessed to finally be able to forge connections with people of my demographic," said Colin Rice.
We look forward to expanding this event next year and having this be a continued ministry provided by the diocese. We could not have done this without the support of Bishop José and the several churches that sponsored young people. If you would like to make a donation to this mission, please reach out to email@example.com. We are already brainstorming ideas to make next year even better!
"This retreat was a beautiful opportunity to lean into the season of Advent -- of waiting and listening. We enjoyed great fellowship, conversation, and fun with each other as we took a break from the business of our lives to be present. I am excited to see this conference continue to serve the unique needs of the young adults in our Diocese in future years," said Sadie McNair.
Comments from the participants:
"Overall, I liked that it was a good balance of community building and time to also looking within ourselves and doing some healing."
"We needed this safe space to have these conversations around being a young adult and navigating through this time."
"This was a great event, I feel like my soul is rejuvenated."