Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A little Wisconsin did me good.

My roommates and I made it back to Chicago just in time for a cyclone! For all the hype (it's being called the most powerful storm in 70 years), it's fairly calm today. As in, it's not even raining anymore and the skies are blue.

I'm happy to be back, sleeping in my own bed and only sharing my bathroom with 11 other women instead of all 13 roommates plus our 2 directors, as was the situation on retreat. We were at Camp Dewan, near Burlington, but the day before seven of us were able to leave early to go to Kate's house in Brodhead. There we got to play with her barn kittens (we named them Captain, Crybaby, & Rafie...short for Rafters, which is where we found her), jump on her trampoline, help combine, and go to her brother's high school football game. I loved being in Wisconsin and staying at an actual house.

Retreat was a great way to reconnect with my roommates, because even though I live and work with them, it's hard to have quality time everyday. Camp Dewan is basically a renovated barn with an indoor basketball court/lounge area and loft for sleeping plus a lodge with more sleeping areas. Between sessions we canoed in the pond, played basketball, took nature walks, and had quiet time (aka, napped).

Our sessions focused on building community: trust, working through conflict, getting to know each other, setting ground rules for how our community should operate, etc. Some of the topics we briefly explored during our Orientation retreat, but it was much easier to talk concretely about community after living with each other for two months.

We also had guest speakers (the director of the boys' campus, the vice president of residential programs...some pretty important people), who are all awesome and so open to our questions and suggestions. That's probably one of my favorite things about Mercy Home/the MercyWorks program--people want to hear our suggestions and we know that office doors are always open, whether it's for advice or just to chat. I've been blessed with approachable supervisors in most of my previous jobs as well, and it's really one of the make or break aspects of a job, I think.

Today and tomorrow are my weekend for this week (retreat counts as work), then it's back to homework and chores in Daley Home...I feel like I've been gone from program forever and I'm starting to miss the guys and their antics!

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