Stuttgart teens visit GAP for CYS Ready & Resilient teen retreat

Teens learn to work together during a team building exercise in one of the ELR’s ballrooms. Photos by Katie Fox

By Annalise Dolby
Freshman, Stuttgart High School

During July, the School Liaison Office, along with the Patch Youth Center, conducted a three-day Ready and Resilient (R2) retreat at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Attending the Stuttgart Child and Youth Services’ R2 Retreat Training was an eye-opening and memorable experience for me. There was so much to learn, and doing so in a fun environment with friends my age made it even better.

This particular training was the first of its kind here in Stuttgart. The exploratory trip was one that involved teens rather than adults. Twenty-four 7th – 12th graders attended the trip. The trip was made possible through a grant from Installation Management Command G9.

I was lucky to be one of the participants. Over the course of three days, between conference room meetings and hands-on activities, my peers and I learned about perseverance and the importance of hard work. We focused specifically on the Seven C’s (connection, contribution, character, confidence, competence, coping and control).

The CYS Master Resiliency Trainers covered a great deal of skills at the retreat. However, what stood out most to me was the realization that you cannot achieve your goals alone. I had never realized the importance of having someone who would stand by you and pick you up when you fell. We did an exercise where we had to come up with a goal, and that goal was our “mountain.” It all seemed easy until we were asked to determine who in our life would cheer us on to our goal? Who would be waiting to catch us when we fall? And who would walk with us the whole way? There were a few obvious answers for me, but it was not until I stopped to think about it that I realized I had so many people supporting me. I realized no one ever knows how much support they are receiving, whether the support is a shout of praise or simply by being there. The training allowed me to dig deeper into all aspects of my life.

Stuttgart youth pose for a group photo along the Loisach River, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, while participating in a recent CYS R2 retreat training.

We spent some fun time learning outside of the conference room as well. On the second day of the retreat, we went for a hike at Partnach Gorge. It was absolutely beautiful and we spent the time taking in the scenery and laughing with our peers. It was a gorgeous sight to see and it’s one that I will remember for a long time.

The Stuttgart CYS R2 Retreat was a truly unique initiative. I learned new things and forged new friendships over the course of those three days. It was not only a place to learn about carrying on, but an opportunity to meet new people. Outside of the conference room, we spent time together at meals, during our free time, and on the bus rides.

At the retreat, we read a passage called “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. One part of the passage stood out to me–the last lines summed up resiliency in a few words: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” To me, these metaphors captured exactly what I was taught and what I took away from the retreat. It was an absolutely amazing experience and one I will not soon forget.

Be Ready & Resilient
For more information regarding the CYS Ready and Resilient (R2) program and future out-reach activities, call the School Liaison Office at 596-7465/9009 (#uparmoredresilientTEENS).