Contributed by Jennifer Pierce
From July 16-18, 50 CARP leaders from 12 different chapters across America and abroad gathered at the Belvedere Training Center in Tarrytown, New York, for the 2017 CARP “Momentum” Leadership Retreat. The purpose of this retreat was to establish a connection between chapter leaders, determine a direction as a National CARP team, and prepare for the upcoming school year.
Teresa Rischl, President of CARP America shared,
“We chose the theme ‘Momentum’ because we wanted to inherit and carry on the energy from True Mother’s historic speech at Madison Square Garden on July 15. This summer we had several big initiatives, including the Japan-Korea Trip and CARP Las Vegas’ 40-day Actionizing Road Trip, that led up to the event at Madison Square Garden.
This was the main reason that we came together and it united all the different chapters around the country to come together as one. I wanted to make sure that our CARP leaders had the chance to reflect on and digest all of these amazing experiences so we could go back out stronger and clearer than ever before.”
Although it was a mere two and a half days, the leaders were educated, empowered, and motivated to make CARP a driving force of change this fall semester. Following the “Peace Starts With Me” rally where CARP co-founder Mother Moon gave a momentous speech promoting peace at this time, the students were inspired to contribute in their own way.
The first day, participants shared about their accomplishments as chapters from this past year, setting a precedent for even bigger and better success in the future. Then, they heard from CARP alumna and current advisor for CARP LA, Naoko Hiraki, about her journey through CARP and the deep purpose that CARP was created for.
The next day, each of the 12 chapters discussed their current activities and status. Despite the fact that some chapters are well-established and some are just starting out, all the leaders were inspired and encouraged by the progress made by other chapters.
“Hearing all the chapter reports … gave me so much hope to see all that is going on in our CARP movement everywhere and celebrating each other’s collective victory. I definitely learned and inherited from gaining various perspectives.” – Junta Naito
There were also presentations about the recent International Exchange Trip to Japan and Korea and CARP LV’s Summer Training road trip across the continental US. These reports inspired the leaders to join in on the efforts and encourage college students to embody Unification Principles.
In the afternoon, the leaders received practical guidance from Tasnah Moyer, the National Young Adult Ministry Coordinator for Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, using the quote by Father Moon, “Before I can lead others, I need to lead myself.” She provided easy steps on how to develop positive daily habits for internal growth and how to make a contribution with these habits. This talk gave the leaders an opportunity to reflect on their current spiritual health and how they can make adjustments to center themselves daily.
“Tasnah’s talk helped me to be honest with myself, especially leading into being a chapter president, [by] asking myself and reflecting on the areas where I fall short or lack integrity in.” – Joshua Holmes
After a long day of listening, CARP leaders were given an opportunity to go on a prayer walk around the expansive grounds of the Belvedere Training Center (where Father and Mother Moon have trained numerous leaders in the past) to meditate and pray about the future for themselves as leaders and for CARP as an organization. This time was valuable for the leaders because many of them felt overwhelmed by the constant grind and the looming task before them back on their respective campuses. Through this exercise, they were able to clear their minds and recommit to the larger goal for CARP.
“My highlight…was the prayer time we had. After hearing all these reports and results and testimonies from America, I could broaden my vision also for Europe and through sharing this with God, I had a strong sense of hope for Europe.” – Christiane Beutl
On the last day, CARP LV’s advisor, Akira Watanabe, guided the leaders on what kind of heart and motivation they should have when investing in CARP. With some humorous anecdotes, Mr. Akira’s talk encouraged the participants to think about the quality of their investment.
“[Mr. Akira’s talk] really helped me to have confidence in myself [and have] the heart of wanting to do something with my life to honor everyone who has sacrificed and invested into a kid (me) that was once lost with no direction.” – Masato Takahairo
Finally, chapters were given the time to plan and create action steps for the new year. All the leaders, whether part of well-established chapters or not, held lively discussions and made concrete plans for the future.
The energy in the room was vibrant and palpable as chapter leaders discussed their plans within their chapter and with others. It was even more touching when participants decided to use their meal break and free time to continue to meet together. They wanted to discuss what they could do together as a unified national CARP team. Since many of the leaders participated in the recent International Exchange Trip to Japan and Korea, where they attended a Conference on the Reunification of North and South Korea, these young leaders were inspired to make tangible steps towards supporting this cause with their CARP counterparts in Japan and Korea.
“The highlight of this retreat was being able to come together as CARP leaders from around the world and America. I felt for the first time that we are all fighting for the same vision and working together…I appreciate the time to share with one another, give and inherit, and inspire each other. There was so much power we generated together.” – Kailey Teo
Yuri Kaneko then led a session on how to share CARP’s vision with peers and professors on campus. It was coupled with a role-playing exercise on how to share the meaning of CARP with someone in just a minute.
“[The activity] was exciting and comfortable because we could practice with each other first. We knew how difficult it could be to do this in real life so this gave us a chance to challenge ourselves as a family. This was very hands-on activity and we got to learn to teach others about what might occur on campus.” – Jay Gonzalez
The retreat concluded with determinations, reflections, and testimonies showcasing each leader’s growth and dedication to the CARP. The participants developed a close bond of heart with their CARP brothers and sisters from around the nation. During the retreat, participants met in groups of people from different communities and chapters, which created a space of discovery and learning. These groups will continue to check-in with these mixed teams on a weekly basis to keep the momentum going. These leaders showed conviction and passion despite the challenges ahead – this attitude will continue to guide them in leading their chapters, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.
For more photos from this retreat, go to our Facebook page.