An Invitation to Shelter in Place

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Camp Merrowvista Odyssey men celebrate on Mount Katahdin

By Anna Kay Vorsteg

Surely you are aware of the many Executive Orders being issued by Governors at this time. I write to make sure you are equally aware of my Executive Invitation to Shelter in Place.  The orders being given by elected officials are serious, critically necessary and need our full commitment. The invitation I extend is also serious, and if accepted, can be preventative and life-giving. I hope you will join with the AYF in the weeks to come, as we actively work to build and provide shelter for one another.

There is an Irish proverb that we often reference when building our communities at Miniwanca and Merrowvista: It is in the shelter of each other that the people live. Perhaps like never before, we need to come together as a community to provide each other shelter as the incredible storm in the form of coronavirus hovers over us. If we were on trail and a thunderstorm was passing over, we would all assume the terribly uncomfortable, but proven, stance of lightning position. We would spread out, not touch each other, squat down hugging our knees and find a way, despite our distance, discomfort, and fear, to emotionally hold each other up. By up, I mean up in spirit. In times like these, conversations, songs, and play can provide us real protection. These things can’t stop lightning, but they are a proven defense against fear, loneliness and the time-drag of hard waiting places – they are our shelter. And when challenging things do happen, we can and will be right there for one another, as we seek to heal and draw meaning from the unimaginable.

In the weeks and likely months ahead, we will all form new routines. I hope you will be deliberate about your movements and take up this invitation to join us in sheltering in place online. Through our new Best Self Every Day virtual program, our staff is rallying to provide daily activities that will grow the best within you. Dare to start your days with Go-Getters or Morning Stretch, explore the Founder Friends community, or attend an online Evening Reflection. Dare to learn a new skill by attending a virtual Interest Group. Dare to sing and dance and laugh without apology during an online Assembly. And when ready, adventure daringly in exchanges with others from across this country, some of whom you do not yet know. Let us gather, and share in good books, good movies and meaningful conversations.

The rising bell has rung! Rise, grab these challenging days one by one and draw from each their gifts. This time will pass, and when we look back upon it, may we see how it shaped us for the better. So my friends, get off that couch, out of that bed, and hurry towards your best. Lace on some close-toed shoes and join us in the opportunities presented below. Recognize that it is time to shelter. And understand, shelter is an action verb!

Health and healing to you and yours,

Anna Kay

Anna Kay Vorsteg
AYF President