Retreat keynote speaker Stacey Sumereau addresses retreat participants from grades eight through 12. Photographs by Amy Elkins.

Hope an anchor for the soul

Originally Appeared in : 9910-5/9/19

As the girls began to arrive to Camp Grace on the evening of April 26 they seemed excited to be there. This weekend retreat for girls was planned by a team of youth ministers and volunteers from around the diocese. The object was to bring speakers and activities that would help the teens grow in their faith and to challenge them to find ways to have a deeper relationship with Christ. Let Hope be An Anchor for your Soul was the theme of the retreat.


There were a variety of inspirational speakers throughout the weekend. Stacey Sumereau from New York was the keynote speaker, and her first talk about self-image was a great way to start off Saturday morning. Stacey was able to share life stories and stories of struggle which the girls were able to relate to. But Stacey was only one of the speakers for the weekend. Friday night April Scarborough and Charlotte Everts were able to speak about human trafficking. One of the adults reacted to it on the survey saying “I loved it.. I know a lot of the girls there were not aware of how common it is.” Nadine White and Jean Woodman both gave talks on Saturday which the girls were able to relate to Nadine’s focus was on healing and strength. One girl’s reaction on the survey was “I liked what she said, ‘I am strong. I am brave. I am respectful.’” Jean’s focus was on Divine Mercy and helped the girls connect in a deeper way with Christ.


Saturday was filled with great speakers and activities such as canoeing and rock climbing, and with all they were able to connect with during the day, the girls were able to take it all to God during Mass and Adoration Saturday night. Sunday morning Betzy Santana gave a beautiful talk about her Quinceañera and how she was able to connect her Quinceañera to her upcoming wedding. Her mother, Isabel, also spoke during Betzy’s talk, and their strong relationship was evident.


Jackie Corona from Tifton said it best, “It was a wonderful experience. I recommend going to it and I would go again.”


Amy Elkins is the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Savannah.

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