With 49 young adults in attendance, Taking Flight, in partnership with On Our Own of Maryland, hosted the 4th Annual Young Adult Leadership Retreat May 24-26 at Melwood Recreation in Nanjemoy, Maryland. This largest Retreat to date included participants from every corner of Maryland: from Hagerstown to Hollywood, Federalsburg to Frederick, and many places in between.
This young adult-led event included workshops on “How to be an LGBT Ally,” “Pathway to Recovery” and “Reflections.” Participants also discussed the recently released What Helps/What Harms report (which offers recommendations about changes that can be made to improve services and outcomes for young people in Maryland) and how it can be used as a tool for advocacy.
An interactive performance from a Baltimore Improv group on the first night was a different and fun way to get participants comfortable with each other and set an important tone of being open and supportive. During the Retreat, participants were able to challenge themselves and their peers through activities like walking on wires through the trees, soaring down the zip line, and enjoying nature hikes, nightly campfires and horseback riding. The support and encouragement offered by the participants fostered newly developed friendships and enhanced the trust built during their time together.
This three-day Retreat fostered peer leadership while providing young adults with an opportunity to gain new perspectives on their and other’s experiences and engage with other young people from across the state who are similarly interested in sharing their stories to make a difference and combat stigma.