As this year comes to a close, we look back with gratitude at the changemakers and caregivers who have gathered in this space to process, strategize, connect and recharge as they work to advance the common good.
The Uplands Center opened its retreat season by hosting a “Young Changemaker” retreat for the scholars from She Wins Inc., a free leadership and social action organization for middle and high school girls in Newark, NJ. While inclusive of all girls, She Wins primarily aims to serve girls affected by inner-city violence. These young ladies gathered at the Uplands to engage in a weekend of workshops centered around leadership development: how to effectively lead with compassion, assertiveness, self-advocacy, and community advocacy
The Uplands Center hosted NY-Presbyterian Hospital Emergency Medicine Residency Program for a caregiver retreat. This vibrant group of interns and faculty enjoyed a healthy balance of rest, play, and reflection during their stay with yoga, art activities, and guided meditation.
McPherson Strategies, a boutique communications and social impact firm, visited The Uplands for a changemaker retreat. This group of women works to amplify progressive causes including reproductive rights, child-led home education, and environmental sustainability. Their retreat included workshops to review their internal mission, vision and values.
The Uplands hosted a changemaker retreat for New Jersey Children’s Foundation, whose mission is to invest in people, programs, and partnerships that will improve public education and equity by putting the interests of children first. The aims for their retreat were to deepen connections amongst members of their team, define goals for 2023 and enjoy some self-care and wellness practices.
The administrative team of Philips Academy Charter School visited The Uplands for a strategic planning retreat. The group prepared for the upcoming year, integrated new members of their team, bonded, and worked on internal communication.
The Kairos Center for Rights, Religions and Social Justice, a national organization committed to building a movement to end poverty, came to The Uplands for a changemaker retreat. Led by the poor and drawing on the power of religions and human rights, Kairos has initiated a series of national actions to build up the unity and organization of the poor in the United States
The Uplands hosted Newark Community Street Team, a violence-reduction organization for community-centered public safety. NCST’s team leaders sought relaxation and renewal for their team of urban warriors of peace and protection. Their retreat consisted of nature immersion, reflective activities about interconnection, expressive art activities, sound baths, and plenty of down time.
Clinton Hill Community Action, a community advocacy group from Newark focused on fair housing and food justice, visited The Uplands for their second week-long retreat. Key among their objectives were to build and deepen their organizational culture, reconnect with the organization’s vision and theory of change, strengthen collaboration and set targets for 2023. They enjoyed yoga, a guided nature walk, and a mandala-building art project.
The Uplands held a retreat for Be Morr, a New York City based therapy practice and wellness community that specifically serves Women of Color. The retreat invited caregivers from many different backgrounds to convene at the Uplands- social workers, mental health counselors, mothers, and mindfulness instructors. The retreat honed in on wellness, rest, and joy as radical acts of freedom.
WIDE (Women for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity) is a social justice organization that promotes the inclusion and equity of all people through education, community outreach, and activism. This group held an overnight retreat at The Uplands to celebrate their victories, engage in strategic planning and bigger-picture thinking, and bond as a team. They enjoyed yoga, a collaborative arts workshop, a hike on the Brook trail, and relaxation time in the spa.
ChangemakerXchange is a non-profit organization that connects more than 1,000 young changemakers and social innovators from 130 countries via summits, capacity building and peer-learning initiatives. This year, The Uplands was the venue for their North American Gender and Climate Action Summit, which brought together environmental defenders and social innovators from around the world to support each other in their efforts to create, sustain and scale-up positive change.
Friends of Recovery of Delaware and Otsego Counties (FORDO) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting addiction recovery through peer support, education, and advocacy. This year’s “Recovery for Women, By Women” program culminated in a retreat at The Uplands Center. The participants engaged in a variety of wellness-promoting and self-reflective activities such as mindfulness sessions, an expressive arts workshop, a low-impact exercise class, a women’s circle, a self-regulation session, daily reflections, and an affirmation circle.
The Uplands held a free Narcan training to teach community members how to administer life-saving treatment for opiate overdose.
The Delaware County Rural Healthcare Alliance’s Policy Council met at The Uplands for their quarterly policy review meeting. The day started off with a gentle yoga class, followed by their board conference in The Uplands’ spacious meeting room, and a farm-to-table lunch.
The regional coordinator for NY Breeding Bird Atlas led a walk at The Uplands through fields and forest focusing on observing birds and their breeding behaviors. The data collected from this event and others like it are used in New York environmental planning efforts and has long-lasting impacts on bird conservation.
The administrative team from UHS Delaware Valley Hospital visited The Uplands for their annual planning session. Utilizing the dining hall as the home base for their large gathering, the group engaged in presentations and discussions around their strategic plan. During the mid-day break, the group enjoyed a garden-fresh lunch and an “activity hour” featuring a flowery art workshop, a chair yoga session, and a meditative nature walk.
The Arc of Delaware County, an organization that supports people with disabilities in living personally fulfilling lives, held their quarterly planning meeting in The Uplands’ meeting space. They also enjoyed a delicious garden-fresh lunch and a yoga class.
Laura Silverman of The Outside Institute led a Wild Plants Walk. This free community event was open to anyone interested in learning more about the enchanting world of plants. The group learned about the ecology, natural histories, medicinal properties, and nutritive value of plants along The Uplands’ Brook Trail.
The Uplands hosted Walton Central School District’s “Adventure Day”. These are day-long field trips with 6th and 7th graders with the goal of team building and bonding. The students engaged in outdoor collaborative activities that strengthen leadership skills and communication.
Walton Central School District’s Alternatives to Violence Program (“Crush Connects”) is a middle and high school program intended to enhance students’ connections to school, their peers, and community as well as improving classroom behavior and academic achievement. The Uplands hosted the program’s final gathering with the theme of “gratitude”. The students enjoyed outdoor yoga, an art project, a gratitude circle, and a hike.
Helios Care hosted their annual Grief Retreat at The Uplands. 20 community members who had recently lost a loved one participated in grief yoga, sound healing, and a support group around a bonfire.
Many thanks to these wonderful groups for bringing their energies to The Uplands this year. We look forward to another fruitful year ahead!