On September 23, at 8:45 a.m., 18 Unionites set out for Firth, Nebraska with the intent to discover a little more of who they are. Calling Retreat, established through a grant written by Michelle Mesnard and maintained by the Career Center at Union, is an annual event that gives students the opportunity to discover themselves more deeply and learn more about God’s intent for their lives.
Upon their arrival at Camp Solaris, students unpacked their overnight items into the cabin-like dorm rooms and made their way to the meeting hall termed “The Arkk” where they met Brenda Erickson, the main speaker of the event. Erickson has been working with Union students in this setting for five years, but has taught the curriculum for over 15 years. The primary resource used at the Calling Retreat was the Network, Revised Participant’s Guide by Bruce Bugbee and Don Cousins with Wendy Seidman, a book used to help guide Union College faculty for several years.
Tamara Seiler, Humanities division office manager and co-coordinator of the retreat, describes, “The idea is that you’ll have more puzzle pieces by the time you leave.”
Many students found Seiler’s statement to be accurate. Weston Lively, freshman graphic design major, explains, “Calling Retreat has actually been pretty fun. I didn’t know what to expect except for getting off campus, but it was really good to learn about myself and others. If you want to get to know yourself, definitely come out. I still don’t know who I am, but I have a better idea of who I’m going to become.”
Kourtney Shoemaker, secondary education major, shared a similar experience, “It has combined my passion for wanting to know more about myself and discovering spiritual aspects that I didn’t necessarily know I had and it’s been eye-opening as well. [The event has] helped me find my calling in doing something just like this. Hearing those God ‘ah-ha’ moments from [other’s lives] and perspective[s] broadened my own perspective of who God is.”
Other students were shocked by what they discovered. Jade Covel, freshman pre-nursing major, stated, “It’s been pretty good, but some of my gifts I’m confused about; it doesn’t make sense and I really don’t like some of them…I’m still kind of working it out.”
Unionites came for all different reasons: discovering themselves, “spending time with new people...and getting to get deeper into the Bible” as Hannah Roberts, freshman elementary education major, describes, or just simply needing a chance to get out of the dorm for the weekend. Covel explains, “I came because I needed to get off campus and I really don’t know what I’m doing with my life yet.” No matter the reason, though, all left with a renewed and deeper understanding of who they and the purpose Christ has for their lives.
For more information on how to become involved in Calling Retreat or discover what career path is right for you, visit the Career Center in the lower level of the Don Love Building or contact Tamara Seiler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kayla Miller is a junior studying nursing.