9 teenagers + 4 adults + 6 days @ Big Stone House = magic.

It started with an e-mail from an old friend: “What do you think about working with a bunch of teenagers…?” That question turned into a series of ‘what-if’ and ‘how about’ conversations that grew into one life-changing week: the group trekked to Almonte, Ontario from the Vermillion, South Dakota United Church of Christ to wrap up their two years of study, work, and play with a Big Stone House retreat. Folks ate BeaverTails, poutine, and real maple syrup and toured Parliament and Mont Royal (and other places, too). There was worship at Notre Dame and the Orthodox Cathedrals, meditation at the Buddhist Center, dinner and prayer with the Muslim community, and a visit to the James Naismith museum during the NBA playoffs found the whole gang on the Global News. The group stacked wood, waded in the creek, talked a little Enneagram, sang and prayed and shared stories every night in circle (see photo of the living room above) about what it means to love and be loved, to know and be known, to see and be seen…and by the end of our intensive week together, the consensus was that confirmation isn’t about having the right answers. It’s about being a part of a place and making the space to ask big, naive questions, practice love, mark the everyday sacred things of life, listen, learn, and know in your bones that you belong. And it isn’t just for kids…this kind of community and connection is what makes life feel alive for folks of all ages.