New Beginnings #44 - A Huge Success!

New Beginnings #44 - A Huge Success!


I had the privilege of being with an incredible group of youth and young adults at St. Crispin’s for New Beginnings (NB) #44!

The team arrived on Friday night and you could begin to feel the excitement in the room build as the team laughed, sang, and prepared for the weekend. Staff worked to divide the participants into small discussion groups, open the dozen or so plastic crates with New Beginnings materials, and begin making various gifts for the participants. The Chaplain for the event, Mother Elizabeth Davis, offered a Commissioning Eucharist and anointed the hands of those who were serving as Prayer, Share, and Care Staff (PSC) and the Music Team, and anointed the foreheads of those who served as Dean, Rector, Small Group Leaders, and “Moms” and “Dads”.

The Dean and Rector for New Beginnings are traditionally seniors in high school who have demonstrated outstanding leadership. For NB #44, Carly Herndon served as Dean and Maddi Addis as Rector. These two young women were responsible for keeping the weekend running smoothly and on schedule. Additionally, when there was a break in the schedule, they led games, songs and other activities.

Saturday morning, right after breakfast, the staff got ready to welcome the arriving participants. 

New Beginnings is, at it’s core, a retreat weekend structured around a series of eight talks. The talks are aimed at getting young people to think about their relationships with God, self, family, and one another. They are:

1. God don’t make no junk (love ourselves)
2. Friends and peer pressure (love our neighbors)
3. Siblings
4. Mom and Dad
5. The Church and me
6. Can I believe in God? (Prayer)
7. God is Love (Forgiveness)
8. Pass it on

Two youth are assigned to each talk so different perspectives are given. After the talks, the group breaks into their small groups for an activity and discussion, allowing them time to reflect and share their thoughts. Some activities were shared just in small groups, some with the larger group, and some activities were intended to engage the participants in personal reflection.

Chaplain Mother Elizabeth presented a talk on God is Love/Forgiveness and the talks were ended with a Eucharist. But the day didn’t end there. The evening included a number of activities for participants to share and build fellowship with one another.

Sunday morning, the talks continued and participants finished out the weekend with pictures, signing the New Beginnings book which has all participants since NB #1,  and received their heart necklaces.

As an adult, I was exhausted when the event was over, but was so amazed at the leadership shown, the way everyone was included, the amount of personal sharing, and the depth of the spiritual understanding offered.

Parents, if your youth attended NB this year and they haven’t shared with you yet, please do not worry. The talks are designed for them to begin thinking about some of the big things they either have already encountered or may soon encounter. They are working out who they are, how they fit into things, and what they believe. They have heard about peer pressure and family. But most importantly, they have heard their peers talk about these things.

A special thanks to the adult staff - Holly Barry, Coy Brooks, Zeke Brown, Emma Brown, Abby Colijn, Hannah Goralewicz, and Andrew Herndon. They are and continue to be excellent models of leadership for our youth!



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