Retreat Spotlight: Newark Community Street Team

Retreat Spotlight: Newark Community Street Team

The Newark Community Street Team (NCST) held a Changemaker retreat at The Uplands in May. Trailblazers of the award-winning  model of reducing violence through building a community-centered public safety ecosystem, NCST runs programs such as the Trauma Recovery Center, the Overdose Protection Program, High Risk Intervention Program and Victim Advocacy Services.

As activist peace-keepers tirelessly bringing their all to be present for their community, NCST’s  team members came to Uplands with the retreat theme and goal of being present to themselves and to each other. Special emphasis was placed on restorative self-care practices,  and interconnecting team bonding experiences. 

Immersion in Nature was a retreat centerpiece, beginning with an outdoor opening gathering, where they shared personal retreat intentions, which included unwinding, slowing down, and connecting with and attuning to their own and each other’s true needs. They became “peace-receivers”  lying on blankets, silently absorbing the sunbeams, scents and sounds as they rested on the mossy earth below the cherry tree canopy. Throughout the weekend, the participants had ample leisure time to explore the Wellness Walk, nap in hammocks, hike the trails, swim and sauna, and find meditative spots where they could quietly read, journal or reflect. 

The theme of “being present to the moment, to themselves and to each other” as a team was furthered through restorative yoga, creative art experiences, and enjoyment of the pool and sauna facilities. Additionally, participants not only effusively expressed  appreciation for the kitchen staff’s delectable meals, but they also asked that next time they get to have a cooking class with Chef Candy! 

By focusing on the theme of being present, NCST team members were able to prioritize self-care, cultivate mindfulness, and enhance their culture of compassion. Team bonding was  engendered through extensive sharing  among team members in numerous fireside sharing circles that offered a safe, supportive context for honest expression of  struggles, triumphs, reflections and challenges. Through these many candid, playful, wise and irreverent discussions, NCST team members wove a web of tight mutual trust, understanding, commitment and camaraderie to fortify their collaboration as a team. 

NCST’s retreat exemplifies the critical importance of Changemakers stepping away from their frenzied depleting demands in order to replenish, attune to oneself and one’s colleagues and optimize the effectiveness of their Changemaking teamwork. The Uplands is proud to support NCST and their successful, innovative peace-keeping and community-healing services. 

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