For the first time at Marian, seven students were given the opportunity to go on a four day retreat called IncluCity.
Junior Lauren Harris, one of the students selected, said, “It was a life-changing experience. It changed my whole perspective on what diversity really is.”
The camp was held at Carol Joy Holling Center in Ashland, Neb. from Dec. 6-9 with students from three different schools such as Creighton Prep, Omaha North and Todd County, a school on the Rosebud Native American Reservation in South Dakota. The camp itself consisted of many classes and activities intended to educate girls on issues with race, class, age and sexuality.
The Servants of Mary gladly helped raise more than $4,000 to fund the costs of the camp and transportation. Sophomore Shantise Pearson was especially vocal about her gratitude for the funding. “I’m so thankful that we were able to come on this trip because of the Servants of Mary. I feel like a new person because of it,” Pearson said.
All of the girls felt some form of change after the camp. “I want to encourage many girls to go on this trip. At first, I was hesitant. By Monday afternoon, I had gained so many friends that it was extremely hard to leave, ” senior Agoum Monydhel said.
The activities at the camp inspired many of the students to bring back what they learned. “I feel inspired to take back what I learned this weekend. Marian has the most potential to change some of its biases for the better, ” sophomore Isabel Soto said.
There was a common word used by almost all the students when describing the effects of the camp: change. “I’ve learned more about how words can affect people this weekend than I have in my whole life,” senior Maddie Warrick said after the first day concluded.
The teens shared their experiences with exclusivity and inclusivity as other teens gathered and shared on the second day. “I learned how to confront issues at school and in my life with my emotions,” Monydhel said.
The third day of the camp for students had the most impact on them. “I feel myself growing to understand the struggles of other people. Sunday night was definitely an emotional night for everyone there,” Warrick said.
IncluCity pushed Soto to talk about how she feels about inclusivity here at Marian. “I feel as if we can be the change Marian needs to truly be inclusive. We can’t just focus on one aspect. Everyone at Marian is diverse. We need to embrace everyone,” she said.
The fourth and final day of the camp taught all those at IncluCity a lesson on how this generation can change the world. “Sunday morning taught me that sometimes breaking social norms is what we need to move forward as a progressive society,” Harris said.
Although these girls are not allowed to disclose detailed accounts of the events of the camp due to the privacy of all the delegates, sophomore Jillian Rater feels she doesn’t need many words to describe the experience. “I came back to Marian with a piece of IncluCity that I want to share. It impacted me that much,” Rater said.
In order to attend this workshop, students submitted an application and a 250 word essay. Final selection of attendees was made by Dean of Students Mrs. Kris Hennings and Principal Mrs. Susie Sullivan. Another IncluCity workshop will be held in March, and those students have already been selected.