CCSNE VISTAs Start Their Service Years at Kickoff Retreat

September 2, 2017

At the end of August, the CCSNE VISTA team ventured to Prindle Pond Conference Center in Charlton, MA for the first ever Kickoff Retreat as a three-state Compact.  We met over 50 new VISTAs excited to begin their years of service.

This retreat laid the groundwork for each person to have a successful VISTA experience, helped them connect with each other around their projects, and presented them with a wealth of resources for the year, including each other. Over three days, the new VISTAs learned about the role of CCSNE, the context for their work, and just what they had gotten themselves into.

All of the incoming VISTAs met the group for the first time on Wednesday morning.  Some had started their terms a few weeks earlier, while some had just finished Pre-Service Orientation in Philadelphia the week before, and a few were beginning their second term.  After a few team building activities, the group spent much of the first day learning about the structure and purpose of Campus Compact for Southern New England while deepening new connections with their fellow VISTAs.  The next two days introduced a lot of the context for their terms, including self-reflection, asset mapping, and an introduction to poverty in Southern New England.  They also learned more about what their VISTA service will look like and some of the procedures for interacting with CCSNE.

The retreat was a meaningful way for VISTAs from all over Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island to connect and learn about their years of service.  The VISTA team was also able to learn more about the group and how to provide the best support for a cohort this size.  The VISTAs left Kickoff with a greater understanding of what they are doing this year and how CCSNE can help them accomplish their goals.