Fall 2018 retreat

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Sowing seeds

There is a magnificent phenomenon in nature called a “Nursing Log": when a tree falls to the ground in a forest and dies, its trunk and limbs decay, creating rich nutrient filled soil where bright new seedlings grow. The added nutrients allow the new growth to flourish in a protected space. The seeds the Sam & Devorah Foundation for Trans Youth (SDFTY) planted 2 ½ years ago after losing Samuel Harel Price sprung to life this past Fall in the form of a beautiful retreat for trans youth. In the Berkshires, 15 trans and gender fluid teens from five different states gathered for a weekend retreat. Our dream of creating a safe space where trans youth could come together, feel supported and less isolated was realized during this weekend.

The retreat was staffed by over a dozen highly enthusiastic and experienced trans and gender fluid counselors. After instantly bonding with one another, the teens participated in support groups, yoga, educational workshops such as legal issues, and a gender journey session. Interspersed were recreational activities including a rope course, nature walks, art projects, and a giant campfire with singing, skits, and s’mores. A hairstylist was on hand giving participants gender-affirming haircuts. The counselors and teens spontaneously organized a drag make-up night as well as a late bunk night where teens were encouraged to ask the counselors anything and everything about being trans. Connections and friendships sprouted everywhere; a safe, caring and supportive community formed. During the concluding group circle, everyone expressed heartfelt feelings, including, “I feel a sense of hope,” “I have new friends who get me,” and “this weekend has been life-changing.”
 
The seedlings of the SDFTY took root and grew stronger throughout the weekend. We are so very excited to see them flourish as a beautiful new forest comes to life!