Do you know a young person between 17 and 25 who has a lot of potential but seems unfocused and needs a gentle push to get it all together? He or she might have been an outstanding student or athlete but now things just aren’t working out in the plan (either yours or theirs). This is not uncommon today.
If so, opportunity for a soul-searching weekend of reflection is coming for someone you know, love and have high hopes for. Inspire! 2016 is a weekend retreat planned for Friday morning through Sunday evening, Nov. 18-20, at Camp Lookout on Lookout Mountain. It is intended to provide a reboot for floundering or stuck young people. No weekend of this type would be complete without good food and music and a dozen inspirational speakers. The cost per person is $125, with $75 coming from a sponsor.
What prompted the creation of Inspire! 2016? It is the pet project of Will Garrett, owner of Guthrie’s’ Restaurant in Trenton and other regional locations. Will and his wife, Amy, employ many young people during high school and in early college years in their restaurants. They see firsthand the struggle that some have as they transition to independent adults. Will and Amy have mentored many, but with a background as ministers in the United Methodist Church, they saw a need for an organized program to support and help develop leaders of tomorrow.
Will’s initial idea, called The Leadership Table, is loosely based on his experiences in walking and working Emmaus Walk events. Garrett says his friend, Sharon Moore, told him that he needed to stop talking about the dream and to just get on with it. The Leadership Table formed as nonprofit organization and began planning for the Inspire event in January with about 15 people. It has evolved to over 60 who are committed to mentor and support several next generations of achievers. The Table started with the older leaders of Dade County but has shifted to a vibrant group of 30- and 40- year-olds who will serve in many capacities for the weekend. It is not only Dade County-based but has a regional feel, with many of the volunteers from Tennessee and Alabama.
Inspire! 2016 as sponsored by The Leadership Table will be a three-day high -energy, life-inspiring event for young adults- high school senior through 25 years old. Inspire! 2016 will offer participants the opportunity
to rise strong and own their story
to awaken potential
to experience inspired stories
to create friendships
to connect with business and community leaders
to become part of Inspire! Alumni
Volunteers who have committed to this project were asked what led them to become involved and what are the highest hopes for the young people (known as sojourners). Several answers were as follows:
“The magic of setting goals and working hard to accomplish them has been a lifetime passion for me. To learn, to grow, to read, to think, to love, to dream, to share, to give and to believe have been my life’s rewards. My highest hope . . . is for our sojourners to fully realize how special they are. . . .” Sharon Moore.
Glynn Hodges of Chattanooga was drawn to Dr. Garrett’s vision. “I knew that his strong faith coupled with his passion and leadership skills was a recipe for real success,” he said.
Mary Pat Rogers of Lookout Mountain says: “I am committed to making a difference in their lives and creating a space where the unimaginable becomes reality.”
And I, Donna Street, say: “I know how quickly young people can lose hope when they get to the real work world and they forget how to dream and achieve.”
The volunteers of the Leadership Table are in great measure Christians of various faiths who believe that one of the ways they can share the love of Christ is to plant seeds of hope and opportunity in the young people around them. The Inspire! 2016 weekend will just be a beginning as the goal is to stay in communication with the sojourners and mentor them as they travel their journey.
There is still time to nominate a young person you know to attend the Inspire! 2016 weekend on Nov. 18-20. To print an application go to: http:inspireweekend.com/resources.
If you are a young person who is interested in attending this weekend, but you don’t have a sponsor, then print the application and send it in, because there are several persons willing to sponsor a young adult who knows that he or she could use a helping hand.
For more information go to: http:inspireweekend.com