Photos by Shamera Robinson. Descriptions by Katie Newton.
Sunday, July 9, 2017:
Our group gathered at the Bradley Airport and traveled by bus to the Guest House Retreat and Conference Center in Chester, Connecticut. The Guest House had all the charms of a New England country inn and was very welcoming to our group. The evening was spent re-connecting with friends and getting to know our newest alumni. Several people also spent time personalizing their validation bags– a place to leave each other notes of encouragement, friendship, thanks, etc.
Monday, July 10, 2017:
For a few of us the day began bright an early with Yoga lead by Kris. Our first summit session was “Telling Your Story”, lead by Dawn Fraser. Dawn got us loosened up passing Zap!’s and Woah!’s around a circle.
We then discussed the elements of a story and broke into pairs to practice telling a 4-minute story. We had more than enough volunteers when Dawn asked people to share their story with the larger group.
In the afternoon Janet Colantuono, Corvias COO and champion of healthy work-places, gave a talk on Work-Life Balance. Advice on loving the body you have, staying hydrated, and the real challenge of achieving work-life balance were shared.
The group then hiked to a nearby lake to enjoy some sunshine and a swim.
In the evening we gathered around a bonfire. The fire was large and warm and had space around it for everybody. However, as the evening progressed we moved our circle to one side of the fire, and we took turns sharing the stories we had developed this in the morning session. We shared difficult life lessons, stories of loss, and stories of personal success. We learned not only about each others’ experiences but also about how each person views and describes their own experience.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017:
The second full day of the Summit began with rise and shine yoga for a few early birds. After breakfast, the first Corvias Connects session convened. In a collective conversation alumni shared their stories of personal and professional connections made through the Corvias Foundation. We were reminded of the power of our network, especially when we look for ways to give to others and when we ask for help for ourselves.
The next session was discussion on practical finance with guest financial planners Chris Bartlett, Ed Pieroni, and Dave Sweeney. Dealing with debt, preparing for retirement, and understanding taxes were popular topics of discussion. With only an hour and a half to scratch the surface of these topics, our guests kindly agreed to answer additional individual questions following the discussion.
The goal of the second Corvias Connects session was to foster connections with alumni in the same geographic regions. We broke in to smaller groups based on current location (Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, and West/Southwest). Each group was prompted to discuss ways they could support each other personally, professionally, and philanthropically.
To find out who is in your region, check out the file on our facebook page.
With much of the day spent listening and learning from others, we took a different direction for the next session. During the self-love session, we turned inward. Kris led us through a guided meditation. Then we identified the successes and potential we have as individuals by completing the phrase “I am . . . “. We filled sheets of paper with words of what we are and what we want to be. Putting it all in the present tense was a reminder to find and nurture the good things inside of us.
For the last session of the day, it was time for some #CorviasGivesBack. This year’s on-sight service project was done in partnership with Together We Rise, a national organization that provides “sweet cases” and bicycles to foster children. Working together, we decorated and filled about 15 sweet cases and assembled about 10 bicycles.
Our celebratory dinner was from the Taco Pacifico Food Truck. Options on tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, and churros.
The rest of the evening was pretty quiet. Per tradition, we found a puzzle.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017:
The day began with a restorative yoga practice led by Kris. Following breakfast and check out, we came together for our closing session. For our last opportunity to form connections in person this year, we went literal. We attempted what might possibly be the world’s largest human knot. All 34 alumni present formed a circle and joined hands with two people across the way. My arm ended up squished through the middle of the circle and after 5 minutes was falling asleep. It is very hard to make progress when nobody can move so we decided to break into two smaller circles. Twenty-five minutes later, both knots were unraveled, and it was time to say our good-byes.
This year’s unofficial theme was “Connecting in Connecticut”. The Summit planners did our best to make sure each session and activity facilitated forming genuine connections. Howerver, it was our alumni that made the week a success. Everybody came with an open heart and an open mind and was willing to share of themselves. In return, each left with the friendships, a greater network, and the motivation to keep reaching higher.
A special thank you to Shamera for documenting our time together so thoughtfully:
Thank you to all involved with planning the Summit:
Corvias Foundation- Maria, Melissa, Erin, and Jennifer
Alumni- Cristi, Tonia, Kris, Kaylan, Samantha S., Anthony, Mecia, Brandi, Shamera, and Katie N.
Thank you to our many guest speakers:
Dawn, Janet, Ed, Chris, and Dave
Your contributions made our Summit powerful and educational. Thank you for your generosity of time, knowledge, and spirit.