Region 1 YA Eco-retreat

Region 1 YA retreat 2016

The region 1 young adult (YA) program organizes two YA retreats every year, a Spring one-day retreat and a longer one in the Fall. This year’s Spring retreat was special. Themed “Nurturing our Nature”, it was an eco-retreat held at the Black Rock State Park, Watertown, CT on Saturday, April 9 2016. The outdoor retreat allowed for a day-long immersion in nature featuring a nature walk, meditation, music and study sessions on our relationship with nature. 35 young adults participated. There were 3 workshops on the topics “Relating the 5 elements of nature to the 5 human values”, “ Our Inner Nature”, and “Nature as a role model.”

In an effort to make it a zero-waste retreat, the young adults planned in several ways. First, the registration process was paper-free using an online app. Carpooling to and from the venue was encouraged. Waste streams were identified and the retreat site was visited earlier to map trash cans and recycling rules. Pens were recycled from prior years. For one of the workshops, an email was sent to all participants with the quotes and discussions questions to be used during the workshop, which we referenced through our phones, thus eliminating the need for complicated projection and computer equipment or paper. All Young adults brought their own Go-Green kits consisting of a food container, silverware, napkin, cup and water bottle. Care was taken to leave the park as clean as before.

Overall, it was a rejuvenating day unplugged from excessive screen-time. As Kshitij a YA remarked, “Icebreaker, Hike, Workshops, Outdoor Self-Grilled Lunch, Bhajans, Jam Session… all in a day’s work for the Region 1 YAs? Perhaps not. An ideal day with a perfect balance of some much needed spiritual upliftment and fun, nature was nurtured.”