Gretna Glen to host multicultural youth retreat

By John W. Coleman

“Actively Discovering Human Diversity.” With that intriguing title, Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center in Lebanon will host two dozen teenagers of different racial-ethnic groups, all in grades 8 to 12, for a weekend retreat March 3-5.

Just as the title says, youth who attend will enjoy “actively discovering” new knowledge about the diversity of the human family. And some will likely form new friendships, as they engage in creative, interactive simulation exercises followed by debriefings, along with games and recreation, planning and leading worship, “hanging out,” eating together and singing while sharing S’mores around a campfire. Of course, they also will listen and learn valuable wisdom about their world and their faith from caring adult retreat leaders.Youth Rally teaches thousands lessons on love

The full, polychromatic experience will intentionally reflect diversity—in games and activities, small groups, music, meals, stories, conversations, liturgies, and more. Members of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry (CCYM) (right), a diverse but close-knit cadre of young leaders, will participate with others and no doubt will learn much themselves.

“Diversity can create division or inclusion depending on YOU!” reads the event brochure. It promises a gathering that will explore diversity in human relationships and offer “practice tools to utilize the power of diversity in your personal life and relationships.”

????????????????????????????????????The brainchild of Carlen Blackstone (left), an educator who has directed and volunteered at youth camps and retreats for many years, this retreat will benefit from her leadership and that of her other colleagues. David Piltz, who is pursuing a doctorate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, is Conference Coordinator of Youth & Young Adult Ministries, as well as a campus minister at Drexel University, a Certified Lay Minister and a local church supply pastor. The Rev. Anita A. Powell is Superintendent of the Central District and formerly the founding pastor of the intentionally diverse Church of the Open Door UMC in Kennett Square.

This multicultural meetup adventure, cosponsored by the Eastern PA Conference, begins on Friday, March 3, at 7 PM, GretnaGlenLogoand ends on Sunday, March 5, at 2 PM. Space is limited to 24 youth, but registrations are still welcome. The cost is just $95 (with a $20 Gretna Glen discount), and scholarship help is available if needed.

Register on-line at www.gretnaglen.org or call the Gretna Glen office at 717-273-6525. For more information contact Carlen Blackstone at blackstonec@verizon.net or Dave Piltz at dpiltz@epaumc.org.