This is a reflection shared by Becky Dial, a Jesuit Volunteer entering her second year in JVC Northwest:
“The smell of pine and burning sage blowing in the gentle breeze.
The trickle of the brook slipping over rocks and moss.
The squeak of well-worn blue chairs.
The bubbling laughter escaping from new friends.
These are all familiar sounds that filled the grounds of Camp Adams this past week. JVC Northwest welcomed 141 Jesuit Volunteers to the beginning of their journey. These sounds, sights, and smells were one I did not expect to ever encounter after last year’s Orientation. Much to my surprise, I am willingly returning to Anchorage, Alaska as a second year volunteer to continue my service as a caseworker at Covenant House Alaska, a shelter for at-risk, homeless, and runaway youth. I can still remember arriving at Camp Adams last August. I was nervous moving 4,000 miles away from everyone I knew and loved. I was nervous to meet my six new community members whom I would learn to share meals, tears, and laughs. I was nervous about working with teenagers who have experienced far different life paths than I. I was most nervous though after I lost my luggage during my flight from Washington, D.C. to Portland. Within moments of arriving to camp my lost luggage became an afterthought, and I soaked up the warm hugs from my community and the cool breeze of the great Northwest. I remember walking along the trail with tears in my eyes and the feelings of contentment and true joy. I knew without a doubt I was exactly where I needed to be. Fast-forward one year and here I sit again at Camp Adams, ready for a new year. Each new day brought an opportunity for space and conversation to explore more the values of simplicity, spirituality, community, and social justice. This week has been filled with merriment and songs, much advice, and many stories. Tonight we will conclude our Orientation with a Missioning liturgy. Here, our Area Directors will bless and release us into our new journey, wherever it may take us. What an amazing week it has been and what an amazing, beautiful year we shall witness and live.”