Palm Sunday Retreat, 2017

The annual Jacob’s Ladder Spring Retreat held over the Palm Sunday weekend was a smashing success. Thirty-nine Climbers made their way to Camp Piankatank in Hartfield, VA on Friday to enjoy each others company for the holiday. The weekend was a mixture of joyous celebrations culminating in the choice of the 2017 summer program theme: “To be Continued…”

It was a weekend of transition for Jacob’s Ladder as the new executive director, Mrs. Lendermon met current Climbers for the first time. She and her husband got to know what it means to be part of the Jacob’s Ladder Family.  “Mrs. L” led a circle time reflecting on intentional acts of kindness and gave each Climber a beanie animal as a reminder to incorporate kindness in their daily lives.

As we gathered around the tables Friday night, a meal of Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, reminded us to give thanks for the organization, Jacob’s Ladder, and especially for the love and devotion of Aubrey and Margie Hall. Giving back to others is a mission charge of Jacob’s Ladder, and modeled at every opportunity. Thanks were given to the staff members, JoAnne Ruffa, Nicole Pearson, Palmer Castrodale, and office manager Janet Kirby.

Saturday activities began with Climbers portraying skits on the theme: What do you like most about the summer program? An everybody-play outdoor game of tag ensued as the Climbers enjoyed the lovely sunshine. When time-out was called to come indoors, Climbers settled into writing letters of greeting to the New Climbers scheduled for arrival this summer.

The Jacob’s Ladder Board of Directors took a break from their April meeting to join Climbers for Saturday lunch. Board members and Climbers seemed to enjoy their time together as the dining hall buzzed with conversation and laughter.

Then, a celebratory egg hunt began. Nothing is ever usual at Jacob’s Ladder, so neither was the egg hunt. Each Climber had only one egg to find, the one egg with their name written on the side. The lesson was enacted to demonstrate that some find their egg straight away, others need to look awhile, while others need help to find their egg. At the end of the hunt, questions were asked about which one were you? After you found your egg, did you help others? Did you continue to search when the egg seemed impossible to find? Did you help the person find the impossibly hidden egg? Fortunately goodies were in the plastic eggs and each egg was found.

All good retreats must have a bonfire! Saturday evening ended with a roaring fire near the river. Eyes transfixed on the flames as the sharing of stories and devotions went around the circle.

A celebration of Palm Sunday and its origins was lead by Dr. Bruce Powers of Urbanna Baptist Church, complete with the waving of palm branches.

As families came to pick up their Climber, Mrs. L held a meet-the-new-director session. As she spoke to the families, telling them about herself, sharing some research and experience with gifted children and reminding them of rules and application due dates, there was nothing but nods.  Each parent smiled as they came to realize that this change in directors was going to be just fine.  This transition of Jacob’s Ladder from the first 25 years to the next is rightly “To Be Continued…”

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