The first day of the retreat started out with current Radvocate Emmalee facilitating some team building exercises. Thanks to her incredibly thoughtful activities, we connected personally to each other in ways we weren’t expecting, and had some debates about our picks between dogs and cats, Macs and PCs, and other similarly controversial binaries. Soon though, we found ourselves knee-deep in intense values clarification conversations about Talkline-related topics. In the afternoon, we reflected on our activist and Talkline journeys, and had some productive discussion on how to continue building community for each other amid and despite all the changes we’re seeing in the world.
Throughout all the laughter, bonding, and discussion, we took time to ground ourselves in moments of gratitude. Advocates wrote down things they were thankful for on post-it notes based on some prompts, and then stuck them on ‘gratitude boards,’ which were added to as the day went on. By the end of the day, the boards had layers of notes of gratitude and accomplishment.
We ended the day with an emotional goodbye-for-now to Gina, and an equally emotional circle of affirmations, where each advocate voiced appreciation or affirmation for a specific person or the group as a whole. There wasn’t a dry eye by the end of the day!
– Rachel Ronquillo Gray, National Talkline Manager