The book chosen as the theme for our Senior CVT Spring Retreat was Barbara Brown Taylor’s “An Altar in the World”, which was highly recommended by International Site Coordinators at our meeting in March. Most CVTs purchased the book through Amazon and read it on their Kindles. Then, we took turns sharing what we had learned in the various chapters we read and guiding the group through activities suggested by the reading. Some were interesting. Some were hilarious. Some were outrageous. And some were contemplative. If you have read the book, you can probably figure out which chapters fit into which categories. Everyone enjoyed the book.
In addition to discussing the book, our Senior CVTs spent time getting to know our new volunteers and sharing ‘words of wisdom’ from their experiences in Thailand. They also share in some team-building experiences. One team-building activity they shared was the process of creating ‘welcoming houses’ out of styrofoam, crepe paper, toothpicks, popsicle sticks and glue. It was interesting to observe what special talent emerged during this process. It was also interesting to watch how decisions were made and objectives realized.
Each new CVT volunteer is asked to write a poem based upon a template provided in their orientation packet. The poem is called “Where I’m From” and it takes includes special people, special places, special foods and other important things from a person’s life to tell the story of what made them who they are today. A special time during our orientation is when our new CVT volunteers share their poems with the Senior CVTs. It is always amazing to hear the diversity of experiences and backgrounds among our new volunteers, as well as the depth of understanding that can be gained through what they choose to share through their poetry. It was a special time for all of us once again. Our next time together is in August and plans are already being made. A special word of thanks goes out to our friends at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. They have given the Christian Volunteers in Thailand program a special grant of $5,000 to support these retreat programs that are so important to our volunteers. THANK YOU!!