Annual UMW retreat for girls is still on

“Girls on the Go” is still a go for this weekend, according to organizers of the annual United Methodist Women’s inspirational overnight retreat for teen girls. Wintry weather will not deter the dozens of girls expected to gather at Gretna Glen Camp and Retreat Center from mid-day Saturday to Sunday afternoon for fun, fellowship, faith formation and even suitable fashion tips.

The retreat brochure promises “A Different Kind of Makeover” from the usual TV fare, offering young participants “tips to help you make over your look as well as your life.” Leaders will teach and encourage self-confidence, resiliency and creativity, but also conduct Bible study and group devotions. Attendees will engage in arts and crafts, games, drama and music, and then walk the runway in a “trendy but not trashy” fashion show.

Among the motivational speakers, Bishop Peggy A. Johnson and Madeleine Devitis, who traveled together on the recent Mission of Peace to South Africa, will talk to the girls about their three-week journey to enlighten 18 U.S. youth and build meaningful relationships across distance and cultures.

“For these girls, it’s about learning self-esteem, God’s plan for their lives and how they fit into today’s world,” said Mary Ann Repsher, program chair. She and other UMW leaders started the annual gathering 12 years ago, meeting and lodging first in a church and then at Camp Innabah. This will be their first teen retreat at Gretna Glen.

Repsher remembers receiving training with more than a thousand other UMW leaders in Chicago in 2001 on how to conduct Girls on the Go retreats. Now they attract 30 to 40 participants each year, and many, she said, have gone on to “do well” in their lives and serve in the church.

UMW officer Tamara Wims remembers attending and enjoying the first retreat as youth in 2002. “It was a lot of fun and a good learning experience,” she said. She now serves on staff in the EPA Conference Finance Office.

For more information or to register for the retreat download the brochure and complete the registration form, which requires $60 and parental permission. Or contact Mary Ann Repsher at or 610-588-1084.

–John Coleman