Image of retreat students working together

UCDRC Peacemakers Retreat

Exploring Our Gifts Within


October 11, 2013, was a very busy day for eighth grade students from Ascension, Mary Queen of Peace, Our Lady of the Rosary, and Mother Brunner Catholic Schools. The Urban Child Development Resource Center’s (UCDRC) Fall Peacemakers Retreat challenged this group of students to learn more about themselves as they prepare for their future. Throughout the day, many friendships were seeded that will continue to grow as the students move on to high school.

The beautiful Wegerzyn Gardens offered the perfect setting for sharing one another's company. Two things were required of each participant: to complete a variety of surveys about oneself and to work with students from other schools during team-building activities. Students were guided to look deep within themselves to the many gifts with which they are blessed. After careful reflection, each student devised short term goals to help them successfully complete the eighth grade, and long term goals to focus on what they must accomplish in high school to be prepared for college or a career. Students also completed self-evaluations, including the Myers Briggs Inventory, and will learn their personality type at the spring retreat.

Each survey completed and item created during the retreat will be included in a personal time capsule uniquely decorated by the students. The goal is to wait until graduation from high school to open the time capsules.

The day ended with a prayer service led by Alana Campion, principal at Mary Queen of Peace School. Ms. Campion helped students reflect upon the day’s activities in order to realize that each person has many different strengths, given by God, and that we need to use these gifts to better the world around us.

UCDRC counselors will use information gathered during the retreat to work with students and help them build on their talents and skills. Throughout the remainder of the school year, these eighth graders will be involved in a variety of projects aimed to further explore who they are. Each project will produce another item to place in the time capsule.

Photos from the Event