Lasallian Volunteers 2005-2006

Lord, The Work is Yours...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

DEBRIEFING 07 by Joe Kilmade

I feel that the best way to recount the experiences of the Lasallian Volunteer Debriefing Retreat—which from now on I will refer to as “the LVDR”—is to give an annotated play-by-play of the weekend’s events. This format allows you, the reader, the opportunity, no no, the privilege, of reliving the LVDR’s highs and lows at the beautiful La Salle Manor in Plano, Illinois. By not including every moment of the weekend, your experience of the Abbreviated LVDR will be heightened. This format will also allow for proper recognition of all parties involved and time for my very own reflections. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 24

18:00 AmeriCorps Paperwork
Pens, paper, Alisa Macksey, good times.
19:00 Opening Prayer with Brother Brian Henderson
The LVDR’s theme was fishing. Br. Brian invited the LV’s to reflect on their year while listening to the lyrics of Otis Redding’s classic, “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.”
21:30 Social
LV’s laughed, played, caught up, and went to bed almost 3 hours after Staff members retired for the night.

Friday, May 25

9:15 Ice Breaker in the A.M.
This activity entails a few people with too much energy, several coffee-cup-holding individuals (i.e. Marshall Sharp and Sandra Sanchez,) and some jumping around.
10:00 Morning Reflection—“Our Fishing Experiences”
LV’s were asked to share poignant moments from their year of service. These moments were anything from a funny story to a touching experience. Regardless of their seriousness, all of the experiences had common themes of faith, service, and community.
13:00 Sharing Our Adventures & Stories
As a larger group, the LV’s shared their experiences of “fishing.” We were paired into groups of five or six and asked to come up with a way to demonstrate our common experiences. My group focused on the diversity of experience we had throughout the year—from teaching, to counseling, to family and friends, we agreed that the life of a volunteer abounds with opportunities and responsibilities.
13:08 Matt Joram and Joe Kilmade of Tulsa, OK arrive to a standing ovation.
15:30 Free Time!
La Salle Manor was wonderful. The retreat center is located in a secluded area just outside of Chicago. There were hiking trails, canoe rides, tennis courts, basketball hoops, and a swimming pool. All of this, paired with friendly company, allowed us all to relax, share experiences, and reflect on the year.
19:00 What is next?
We were discussed the year to come, our expectations, and our how our volunteer experiences have shaped this vision.
21:15 Evening Prayer and Tears provided by Jolleen Wagner and Mollie Otto
This was for me and a large portion of my fellow LV’s, the most powerful part of the LVDR. We each received a package overflowing with letters from students, clients, family, and friends. These messages were of thanksgiving, appreciation, and love. Their affirming words touched the hearts of everyone.
21:45 Social
Cards, pop, a campfire, pretzels, and a Whetzel.

Saturday, May 26

9:30 Tell, Show, and Share
This session gave each LV group from Friday a chance to perform their skit about their year’s experience. From canoes to rivers, each group was insightful and reflective. Let me speak for every LV when I say that Annie Harala was gregarious and Brendan Bradley was acceptably inappropriate.
14:00 Free Time
An extended session of free time was highlighted by several events. First, Erica Sage decided to join Sara Vogelpohl in the “Crutches Club.” We were all invited by Jim Ruck to have our very own MTV The Real World confessional interview. Also, LV’s were asked to continue writing their affirmation notes to their peers as well as “Wisdom Letters” to both future LV’s and LV Staff members.
19:00 Liturgy
Fr. Peter Jankowski’s homily struck a cord (pun intended) with many in attendance. With his guitar at his side, Fr. Peter explained the intimacy of our relationship with God. We should speak to God as a brother and friend accompanying us along a fulfilling and often bumpy road. In our year of service, this idea of God as a loyal companion helped lighten our load and see God in everyone we encountered.
20:00 Social with Alumni and Brothers
Without going into any detail, I will simply title the evening’s events, in no particular order.
“Dance Party, LV style” by Justine Davies
“An LV Baptism” by Matt Joram
“Chubby Bunny” by Dave Kasievich and Ernest Fernandez
“I Promise, This Works: An LV slideshow” by Alisa Macksey

Sunday, May 27
10:15 Closing Prayer
After beginning the morning thanking Br. Brian for his hard work, we all gathered in the chapel for one last time. We renewed our commitment to the Lasallian Mission of service to the poor. We also read out Affirmation letters from fellow volunteers. To finish off the retreat, we enjoyed a slideshow of our year’s work, in part to the hard for of Jolleen Wagner. Some more tears were shed and laughs were shared. We said goodbye, but only for the time being. Chicago awaited!
18:00 Davefest ‘07
After an hour ride into the big city, the LVs, LV staff, former volunteers, current Brothers, and friends gathered at the Harvey House in Chicago. This house was transformed, for one night, into what I have termed “Davefest.” All of the people present had come together to celebrate the work of their friend, Dave Kasievich. After exchanging hugs and niceties with Dave, the gloves came off during what was most definitely the first and only “Kasie-roast.” We laughed, we cried, we cried from laughter. More importantly, Dave turned bright red as everyone he knew shared stories. Afterwards, the LV’s, alumni, and some of the staff continued to celebrate Dave into the wee hours of the morning.

I hope you have enjoyed your shortened LVDR. As you can see, Br. Brian provided the framework, the Lasalle Manor staff added the supplies, and the LV staff and alumni guided the weekend. The volunteers? We made it memorable. By thinking about our year, we were able to use our experiences of faith, service, and community to better understand our continuing lives as Christians. We also had a lot of fun.


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