It takes place from Feb. 18 to Feb. 20. "We call it an ‘inside-outside' retreat because part of it is service to the community and part of it is spiritual nurture," says Chaplain Rosie Magee. "And then on top of that, we get to have fun together, be in DC, explore DC and get to know people on campus that we might not otherwise know," she adds.
The Presbyterian Pilgrimage in Washington DC
The Wilson students and staff participating in this retreat will stay at The Pilgrimage in DC, a Presbyterian run retreat center near Dupont Circle. Participants will walk around the Dupont Circle area to observe how our visual environment affects the environment we are living in.
Service at Loaves and Fishes
They will also engage in varied activities like worship service at a church attached to The Pilgrimage, serving in Loaves and Fishes, a nonprofit food pantry that serves food to the homeless and takes part in a workshop with poet David Harris. Harris was homeless on the streets of DC for many years and now uses his creative talents to educate people on the issues of homelessness. They will also hear about issues in DC and the wider area from the representatives of the National Coalition of the Homeless, which is a national network committed to prevent and end homelessness and meet the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of doing so. Magee feels the alarming level of homelessness in the country makes these activities in the program vital, because only with knowledge and information can we empower ourselves and others to make a difference.
Next Year's Retreat
If the winter retreat is successful and gets positive feedback, Magee wishes to make it an annual event. Although there have been Chaplaincy sponsored retreats at Wilson in the past, there have not been any in the last few years. Magee feels that such events are opportunities of "learning by living." She says, "These kinds of opportunities are vital to the educational experience. They enhance the academic program in terms of exposure to new experiences, new people, new skills…." She expects this retreat to be a real time-out for all those who are participating. She feels that it will help them gain new perspectives and have fun in the process. As she puts it, "It's good to see a world beyond the Wilson world sometimes."