The Character Movement

Moved by a Youth Frontiers Retreat, an educator hugs a colleague

Educator reveals Youth Frontiers’ long-term impact

Our retreats help inspire students to act with character and build community within schools. We can say this with confidence because we see it every day — kids apologizing to those they’ve left out or persistently teased, friends thanking friends for their steadfast support, students connecting with classmates they’ve never interacted with, and shy kids speaking from their hearts in front of everyone. What we don’t often see is how these students remember their retreats 10 or 15 years later. A few months ago, we did.

It was the end of a great retreat at Farmington High School, and all of the students had left to go home. Lead Retreat Facilitator, Hannah Tjoflat, was packing up when she saw someone approach — an educator. As the woman neared, Hannah could see she had tears in her eyes.

“You know, you’ve done a lot of thank yous today for the teachers and the students and the leaders, but you haven’t left us time to thank you,” the educator said. “I just want to thank you for the work you do. I want you to know that this work really matters.”

The educator took out her wallet and pulled out a faded card. “This is my courage card from sixth grade,” she said, “and I carry it with me wherever I go.” Years ago, she’d written on the card, “My act of courage is to be more like myself and trust that that’s enough.”

“Know that this greatly impacts the people you work with,” the educator concluded.

Moments like this humble us at Youth Frontiers. They make us truly grateful to work with students and educators who commit to improving themselves and their communities and carry that determination with them throughout their lives. These moments renew our appreciation for the individuals, foundations and corporations that help make our retreats and our long-term impact possible. Thank you for your support!

Written by Sarah Gavigan, Youth Frontiers Communications Specialist. Post originally appeared in the YouthFront.

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