I only have fifteen minutes before the last day of our Orientation Retreat begins, but quickly:
We are back in Chicago after four days in Culver, IN. Actually, we were in the middle of nowhere; Culver was a good drive into town. Our retreat house was something straight out of the 70s--we're talking modular furniture and wood paneling here--but the outdoor pool complete with slide and diving board was appreciated in the midday heat.
Our retreat focused on MercyWorks' five program values: Professional Development, Community, Simple Living, Social Justice, and Spirituality. Each day we delved into a value with our program coordinators and other coworkers from Mercy Home and then we got community time to discuss how we would like to incorporate each value into our year. (For example: on the topic of Simple Living we decided to try out Meatless Mondays for a bit.)
It was a great retreat as far as getting to know my community memebers better, mostly because we were so secluded. The retreat felt like a time warp and I have to keep reminding myself today is Friday. When we didn't have offical retreat activities to do, the fourteen of us would play Mafia (a storytelling card game? it's hard to describe), go swimming, take naps, or just hang out and talk/be goofy. A couple of us gained new nicknames thanks to late night discussions and we overall got a lot closer.
Today we are tying up any loose ends, going over our MercyWorks handbook, and celebrating the end of retreat with a picnic lunch in the park a few blocks from our apartment. We have this weekend mostly off (with the exception of taking a written drivers' test to get our Illinois licenses) and then training starts on Monday!