Youth participate in retreat
By Samantha Keating
Spending a weekend with new and exciting people is always an enjoyable experience.  I, along with many others from Cottonwood and surrounding areas, were able to experience a wonderful weekend at the Monastery for an annual Leadership Retreat. 
We started the weekend Saturday morning January 7 by settling in and becoming acquainted with those that we did not know and catching up with those that we had already met at past events.  Our separate groups migrated to the Spirit Center at the Monastery where we played icebreakers to get to know one another better and learn about our theme for the weekend.  Our theme was "Your Faith Story" and to start our themed weekend one of our chaperones told the faith story of Jesus Christ because he is the beginning of our own faith stories.  Over the day we had different leaders telling their own faith stories along with many social games and activities. 
To me, one of the most touching and eye-opening activities was sharing our own personal faith stories.  We had a craft to paint tiles with a word, symbol, or picture representing our faith story.  We then circled and each one of us explained to the others what our tiles represented.  It was up to the individual whether they wanted to go in depth our keep it short and simple.  A few brave individuals decided to open up and explain their very personal faith stories.  It was a great experience because it is really eye-opening to hear someone's story, whether it be good or bad.  Also, the people who share their stories benefit because they feel comfortable in our setting to finally let it all out and share some of the things that may be on their mind.  It is so comforting to know that you will be able to share without being judged or criticized.  
On Sunday, our last day, we went to Mass with the Sisters and then had to say our goodbyes.  A small group of kids and adults decided to take a walk up to the meadow on the hill behind the Monastery.  The view was spectacular and it really was an exceptional way to end our weekend.  We sat up there for a few minutes in silence contemplating our weekend and what we found out about ourselves and our relationship with God.  It was so peaceful up there and everyone could really see and appreciate the beauty God has made for us.  
I would really recommend people to be more involved in our amazing local youth group not only because of the close and accepting community found within the OMG room, but because of the opportunities to experience many retreats and rallies.  The Leadership Retreat is only one of a few trips our youth group makes to celebrate our love for God.  Besides the peaceful feeling I have after a retreat, I would also recommend retreats because of all the amazing and unique people you will meet from around our area.  Being involved in youth group and attending these events is not just about fun but really creating a strong relationship with God.  I know many people benefit greatly from attending these events and I hope more people from the Cottonwood area will join and experience what I have many times.

Triparish youth who participated in the retreat at the Monastery recently are: Stellina Laurino, Morgan Butler, Emily McHugh, Clark Bruno, Beth Dinning, Kayla Johnson, Faith Uhlenkott, Darlene Gehring, Tucker Stephan, Katherine Nida, Samantha Keating, Heidi Holubetz, Rosie Trautman, Not pictured are Steven Kinzer and Debbie Chicane. Also shown are students from other parishes. Photo by Debbie Chicane. 

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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503 King St.
P.O. Box 157
Cottonwood, ID 83522-0157
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