Comments from Iona College

Here’s what students from Iona College had to say about their retreat in April:
“This is the only extended field trip I’ve ever been on at Iona and I wish professors did more activities like this one that removes the classroom atmosphere to apply it to the real world.”  
“The trip to the Agape community was a new, enlightening, fun, and informative experience. It forced all of us to become a close knit community within a short amount of time. Being in one house, relating to one goal, and having to do the same work around the grounds created a sense of mutuality which is key for a strong community.”  
“I believe team work and being able to connect with one another are key elements to a strong community and those elements were evident throughout the two days.  With becoming a community, we were able to create and reflect about the idea of what sustainability meant. It allowed us to think, create, and expand upon the idea of a deeper relationship with the earth.   The staff was very helpful when it came to teaching us about what it was like to live with the earth rather than against it. I think the one thing that everyone learned the most about was the different meals you can create that don’t involve meat or milk.  On our way back from the hike I had a discussion with Brayton about the importance of trees and the untouchable power the youth hold. I agree that us ‘millennials’ are more fearless and are able to create change after witnessing/hearing about many disturbing events that America continues to face today.”  
“Community and sustainability are intertwined because one person cannot save the world by themselves.”
  “Brayton asked us all to walk behind him in silence. Given our usual energy, I was skeptical if our group would actually be willing to do that, myself included. But after about five minutes, we all fell into a peaceful pace in silence, and it was incredibly relaxing.”    
“Yes, we functioned as a community. We started the trip as classmates and ended the trip as friends. We met with the community leaders and were welcomed into their home with open arms, making it feel as if it was my home, too.”      
“My favorite memory from the trip was the walk to the reservoir. We walked there in complete silence and as soon as we got there, we just stopped and stared at the water. There were a lot of trees around us, ranging from mountains to sandy shores by the still water. Then, one of the leaders began to sing “water heals my body, water heals my soul.”  It was a unique experience I will probably never experience again in my life, and I am very blessed to have had the chance to experience that. We even got to explore for a little bit and found a moose track left in the sand!”  
“My most significant memory would be the peacefulness I felt on the trip and after. Before the trip I was extremely stressed about school, work, life, and the world. After the trip I was only focused on what I could control and how I could control how it affected me. I also enjoyed the fact that it brought me out on my shell and that it was such an amazing experience to live there for a weekend.”  
“That sense of belonging and community is something I will cherish for awhile…it is very challenging to feel that emotion. The Agape trip gardening was great and I will take with me always what I learned from the yard work!”