Last summer while IC’11 was taking place in Salt Lake City, many youth went out to the beautiful Snow Bird resort for a newly designed Truthseekers program. After many years of hard focus and community involvement, the Truthseekers team has developed a program focused on the universal truths of: meanings and values, service, forgiveness, love, and community. At Snow Bird this program was an amazing success, as those of you who were lucky enough to be at the IC’11 final plenary witnessed firsthand.
This year in Taos continued that standard of excellence. As always, the kids arrived with a degree of disconnectedness that’s common in our American culture. We worked all week on creating connection with each other by discovering where we each stood on our personal truth and values, bravely confronting our personal challenges, and opening up to the possibility of healing. Every Truthseeker made his or her own personal choice of how open to be with the group.
Noticeably through the week we saw the walls start to come down and the Truthseekers begin to recognize the value of this community. They started to feel they were in a safe place of no judgement where they could sincerely look at anything that might be weighing heavy on their hearts. Even if they did not personally share openly with the group about their own stories, they still witnessed profound bravery as their peers opened up, which in turn inspired them toward personal reflection.
It was a transformative experience to be part of what developed by the end of the week. Love and acceptance began to shine bright and we all felt the change that was planted in the group. On the last evening as we received our Truthseekers pendents, the room was filled with spirit and joy as we blessed each other in pairs. We moved about the room to place our love and hope into the beautiful silver necklaces signifying our commitment to the Truthseekers pledge.
This year it has been the great joy of the Youth and Young Adult Committee to contribute to the Truthseekers program. Liz Craig and I went to Taos as representatives of YaYA to act as emissaries for the Committee and share information with anyone who desired to know more about The Urantia Book or our community.
We had many conversations with Truthseekers about the revelation. They had ideas about how our community could grow and how we could work to share the wonderful teachings of the UB and the Truthseekers program with others. It was an enlightening weekend of self discovery and community growth. We could all feel the wheels of time turning in the direction of progress and truth. Many said it was the best Truthseekers weekend ever!
Personal reflections from the group leaders:
This last week in Taos, NM was another wonderful and spirit filled adventure. We were lucky enough to stay at the beautiful San Geronimo Lodge and explore some of the beautiful rivers and hiking trails in the greater Taos region. As usual Truthseekers was able to bring together teenagers and young adults from the Urantia community in order to grow in grace with God and to actively work on ourselves. Like last year at Snowbird, Utah, the teenagers were brave enough to dive deeply into our program. Over the course of the week friendships were forged and healing occurred. We were able to break down deep-seated walls and barriers when we talked about love and forgiveness. As is the case at every Truthseekers event, the community that we were able to build was profound. I applaud the work that the teenagers did. As usual they taught us more than we taught them. Truthseekers is a unique event that was born out the the need to do something with the unruly teens normally running loose around the Fellowship Conferences. Somehow the Universe brought Fred, Tom, and Ashlee together to hatch the idea of Truthseekers and after this week we continue to be grateful that this happened. The family that Truthseekers builds is unparalleled. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event! Truthseekers was once again an amazing and transforming experience for everyone who attended. Youth and young adults from all over the United States and Canada were able to gather in the beautiful Taos area. The elements that make up Truthseekers are: meanings and values, service, forgiveness and love. We aim to inspire through experiential learning and adventure. During the mornings we broke into small groups and had the opportunity to focus on one of the five elements each day. This time was set aside to do creative exercises that would allow each person the necessary time to take a deeper look at what each element meant to them. There was a safe space created for each one to share their story and how they have viewed things. After each day passed you could clearly see the growth and changes that took place. Many people have came to an event like this with so much heaviness on their heart and mind, so much so that they are temporarily closed off to others in ways of sharing and opening up and their view of the world tends to not be that bright. Because of the particular activities we do each day, the adventures we go on, the new ideas they are exposed to, the unconditional love and the community that is built up in one week, each person grows in the spirit. These bonds and this growth that takes place will carry on inside of each of us forever. It is a seed that has been planted and because these people are able to go beyond themselves and become more of who they truly are, I know that this program works. It has and will continue to change lives. Truthseekers in Taos was asuccess for not only the kids but for the facilitators. With a curriculum based on the universal values each participant in the Truthseekers program gets a much improved relationship to their own personal walk towards truth.
Every year Truthseekers takes its program to a different beautiful location. This year in Taos was above all our expectations. Being in such a beautiful sets the stage for a heightened appreciation for all thing true, beautiful, and good. The San Geronimo Lodge had the feelof a movie set and the comfort of a winter wood fire.
I personally have to say I loved the kids in my group. They honored me with respect and a level of participation that exceed my expectations. As a counselor I always get nervous about my ability to be affective in setting the stage for truth to rain. Each year I find that just by being myself and being present to how truth has effected my life, I can genuinely share myself in a way that moves and inspires the kids. I share with them that I live a life I love and that is only possible through the honest search for Truth at all times and in all places!