From July 7-13, nearly 40 young women from around North America gathered in Holly, MI for the Seeds of Hope Youth Leadership Experience. Program Outreach Coordinator Cheryl Hufnagel curated an experience that provided opportunities for high school girls to interact with dynamic women speakers, build friendships, explore their spirituality, and simply enjoy the beautiful lakeside setting of Maryville Retreat Center. Through the week, young adult peer mentors led their teams to overcome obstacles on the challenge course, learn about servant leadership and immerse themselves in Felician values.
Learning from Women Leaders
For the young women who attended Seeds of Hope, an important part of the experience was a chance to learn from women in non-profit leadership roles. Priscilla Febus, from the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, helped the young women to identify the characteristics of servant leaders. Jennifer Kirkland, Director of Business Development at Angela Hospice, spoke about collaborative leadership, helping the participants learn how to identify their own leadership style and how to work well with others.
Felician Sisters Share Wisdom
During the week, several Felician Sisters also shared their knowledge, experience and gifts. Highlights included a talk by Sr. Mary Victoria Richardson, who shared her own story in a presentation called “Lay Down Your Masks,” about becoming comfortable with who you are. Sr. Suzanne Marie Kush spoke about inspirational women leaders and helped participants to create a “Women that Stand” quilt. Sr. Mary Francis Lewandowski taught everyone how to make rosary beads and bracelets to be used as inspirational gifts or service projects.
In addition to conference-style sessions, participants also spent a day volunteering at sites in Detroit, including Felician-founded Deo Gratias Ministries Detroit and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. They swam and boated on the lake, enjoyed traditional campfires, and created stained glass candle holders that were used in the closing ceremony, where they were sent forth to initiate service in their home communities. One participant summed up the experience at the end of the week: “I’ve made solid friends and experienced the best with all these new people.”
Many thanks to our generous sponsors and donors who made Seeds of Hope possible.
Eleanor and Stephen Ash
Reverend Monsignor Bernard A. Przybocki
To get a glimpse of the week, check out our Seeds of Hope Instagram or Facebook pages. If you know a young woman who is seeking to grow in her faith and build leadership skills, visit Seeds-Of-Hope.org.