Nov. Retreat: One Big Group

The weekend started out in groups. Small ones, based by age, gender and school. The groups didn’t mix. Slowly, over the course of 48 hours, I have noticed the small groups become one big group. Out of that came eight social action teams.

One of my favorite things about these weekends is the fact that you are forced to collaborate with others and get along with people you might not normally get along with. This takes shape when trying to get six girls in the bathroom before breakfast or when trying to figure out the best people to interview for your documentary. What’s the Story gives you the skills you will need for the rest of your life that you can not always find in the typical classroom.

I have the unique opportunity to be coming back to What’s the Story for a second year. This year, I am taking on the role of Student Mentor. I find myself stuck between being a leader and being just like all the students here: still I figuring stuff out as I go. I am happy about how my role has become more concrete during this weekend. I am assigned to a group to help guide them through their project. I am so excited. I saw amazing progress made in only a few short hours and they already have a great drive and a real passion for the subject.

My role for the next couple of weeks will be to be a resource to my group. I want to stay away from being too involved because this is their project and I want to honor that. However, I know I would have greatly benefited from having a returning member giving me advice last year, so I will try to be helpful when needed.

Each time that I come back to the Common Ground Center, I feel more and more like I am meant to be here. I love the positive energy and the wonderful food. The best for me, however, is the conversations. It is these conversations that turn those little groups into the big one.


Thanks for reading,


Ella Nagy-Benson

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