What is Unitreat?
Unitreat is a retreat experience for the Northwest Region's Uniteens. Uniteens are middle school students in grades 6th-8th, ages 11-14. Unitreat includes an exciting challenge-by-choice Ropes Course, camp fires, and creative expressions, all while making friends with Uniteens from throughout the Northwestern Region. There are two Unitreats each year:
The Summer Unitreat is a week-long retreat that takes place at the end of June.
The Fall Unitreat is a two night retreat and occurs the early in November.
The Unitreat Experience
Meet our NW Region Uniteen Consultant, Chris Castaldi:
Over the 15 years I have attended Summer Unitreat I have seen so many transformational moments, relationships, willingness to stand out in one's growth zone and receive unconditional support. It is a pretty awesome 1 week spiritual community in which the Uniteens bring back to their family, friends and Unity community plus continue their relationships through social media, the phone, sub-regional events and November's weekend Unitreat. We are blessed by every Unity community supporting our middle school aged youth in their spiritual journey.
I asked at our closing ceremony if anyone would be willing to write about their Unitreat experience. This is one of the amazing reflections received:
The place: Cispus Learning Center at Summer 2012 Unitreat
This is really an amazing place to be. Words can't describe this experience, but I'm going to try. Imagine this: You are taking a long drive, you don't know where you are going. You go down a winding road, which seems to never end. The city lights are far behind you. Slowly, houses start to fade to the occasional farm house. Telephone poles fade into trees. Cars fade into animals. Finally you make it, you're are in the middle of nowhere. Where are you?
Paradise. All your wildest dreams can be fulfilled. The sky isn't the limit, but just the first step. Strangers are not strangers, but immediate friends. Your group isn't just a group, but a family. Imperfections are imperfect, but are seen as the utmost perfection. Dreams aren't unreachable, but achievable. Negative judgment doesn't exist. You spend what seems like forever. Forever in a good way, forever in the sense that it should never end. But it does. One by one pieces of your paradise just disappear into thin air. You are back on the road, but it's different this time. You know where you’re going, you know where you've been. Animals back into cars, trees into telephone poles, stars into city lights. It's all changing... quickly.
Suddenly your back home, next to the fire, back to technology, in the warmth of your own bed. You reflect on your time there. The calendar says it's been a few days, but it's been longer. Soon it starts to sink in. The lessons, the friendships, the songs. You miss it terribly, but deep down you know you reached your full potential. You were there as long as you were intended to be.
That is my experience. Going back is almost the same as going the first time. You never know what going to happen. This kind of experience that may not come to you the first time. You have to be open. Open to learn, and open to teach. Open to follow, and open to lead. Open to see, open to believe. It could take a few tries to find your paradise. There is a place for everyone here. Some find it the first day, others find it the last. It's all relative. Going back is like going back home. You always have that base to go back too. No matter what it will always be there. Though it's paradise, you can't be there too long. This is not reality, but a fantasy. Don't waste a good thing. You know you have gotten the full experience if you feel you have been dreaming awake.
- Unitreat camper, 8th grade