Building friendships at Chewstick retreat

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  • Winning praise: Deidra-Lee Bean and Gavin Smith (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Winning praise: Deidra-Lee Bean and Gavin Smith (File photograph by Akil Simmons)


Dear Sir,

As Hurricane Joaquin approached, I attended a Fall Weekend Retreat on Paget Island with the Chewstick Foundation and had a wonderful time.

We were a blend of Bermudians and non, diverse ethnic groups, aged from twenties to fifties, with a few children to complete the group.

I want to acknowledge the Department of Youth Development and Sport for the spotless dormitories and good condition of the camping facilities.

The first weekend in October was the end of the camping season, so it was all the more remarkable. Everything was in good working order — there was even air conditioning in the dormitories.

Andre Hollinsid has worked there for 39 years; I do hope he and his team are appreciated, as they do a great job on Paget Island. Thank you, Andre.

The Chewstick retreat was a great experience, with comfortable and gentle activities that contributed towards new friendships. The children who attended were cared for in the classic concept of “it takes a village to raise a child”.

If you weren’t paying attention, it was hard to figure out who the mother or father was, as the baby was handed around to friends and relatives.

One of my favourite comments was made by a young Bermudian to a three-year-old: “How did you learn to play guitar like that?” he asked with the greatest admiration and respect in his voice. What a way to build self-esteem.

On Saturday afternoon, there were workshops in a wide range of topics: from poetry and songwriting to hair braiding, African studies, make-up and Swedish massage. The food was delicious and suitable for all types of diets; no one went hungry.

There was fresh fruit, cereals of all kinds, salmon chowder, tasty salads, cheese ravioli, and all of us teamed up to support Jenille, who is a nutritionist and a great cook.

A circle of storytelling, poetry and songs, some written that very day, completed the evening. Special thanks to Deidra Lee Bean, and Gavin and Jenille Smith for organising and leading.

It’s amazing how little needs to be done when everyone works together. I highly recommend the Chewstick retreats for the nature experience where camping is not hardship. Some great activities and new friends await you, and the price is reasonable.

There were more active games for the children, and also some alone time if that is what you needed. Next retreat is March 2016 and the website is www.chewstick.org.

Go Chewstick. This is the way to positively develop the next generation to be good citizens and to help the present generation to get along better with each other.

VAL SHERWOOD, singer-songwriter

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Published Nov 3, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated Nov 5, 2015 at 10:44 am)

Building friendships at Chewstick retreat

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