Posted by Br John Cantwell
on 13 January 2020
The people, the hospitality and the environment at Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre, Ormiston, ensured that we had an ideal venue for the launch of our new District program, Together for Mission (10-15 November).
Seventeen people from all sectors of the District, as well as from the Philippines, came together for the first block of five nights and four full working days, the first of four such blocks in the series. The next three will be held over the next three semesters.The strong focus for TFM is on enhancing our capacity to work effectively for the wellbeing and education of young people, especially the most vulnerable. Having quickly come to know one other, participants from schools and from yourtown were able throughout the week to share their insights and experience, while reflecting on presentations from Tracy Adams, David Hawke, Jill Gowdie, Gerard Rummery, John Foley, John Dalgleish, Kay Hodson, Nicole Rasmussen, Amanda Proulx, Kane Raukura and John Cantwell.
A highlight during John Dalgleish's presentation was the courageous telling of their very moving stories of suicidal inclinations by three young people who have been clients of Kids Helpline. Their willingness to share accounts of both negative influences and positive support is being nurtured by yourtown so that we are all better equipped to check that our young people "are OK".
As part of the program, participants have been encouraged to develop a practical 'project', in collaboration with their Principal/Manager, that can be implemented in their workplace. A range of very interesting projects is already evident.
Participants' evaluations reflected a strong satisfaction with the week's themes: young people in our Region, Lasallian education in 2019 and beyond, wellbeing for both young people and educators, the story and spirituality of John Baptist de La Salle and his first Brothers. To quote one: 'Thank you very much for constructing this program. It is going to shape me into a better teacher/educator. I like that I am engaged with colleagues from our Region. A residential program is invaluable, learning alongside others, sharing meals etc. with one another'.
The second block in this series will be in April 2020. Another cohort will be invited to participate, beginning in November 2020.