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former volunteer retreat opportunity

“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.” – Parker Palmer. JVC Northwest, in partnership with Brethren Volunteer Service and Mission Year, will be offering a retreat for former volunteers focused on vocational discernment April 24-26 near St. Helens, Oregon. Read on to learn more.


JVC Northwest first began offering retreats for former volunteers a few years ago, and due to the overwhelmingly positive reviews we were thrilled to receive another grant allowing us to partner with Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) and Mission Year (MY) on five more retreats over the next 2 years.

2013 Former Volunteer Retreat

Through anecdotal and survey evidence we know that volunteers who give a year or more of their lives to service experience challenging situations which lead them to seek answers about their identity, the gifts they bring to a suffering world, and how they might imagine their calling and direction for their lives. This process of searching often intensifies after the volunteer year(s) are over.

This is why JVC Northwest, BVS, and MY have worked together to coordinate a retreat for former volunteers to help make sense of how their time of service has and continues to impact the story of their life.

Picture of lake at Camp Emerald Forest

This first retreat is open to 18 former volunteers who have served for a year or more in a service immersion program, but former volunteers from the three coordinating organizations will be given first priority. This retreat is intended to assess vocational discernment content that the three organizations have been putting together since 2014, and feedback from attendees will help guide future retreats slated for Fall 2015 and Spring 2016. Specific logistical details about this retreat are as follows:

  • Friday April 24, through Sunday April, 26
    • Retreat will begin Friday evening and conclude late Sunday morning
  • Camp Emerald Forest, St. Helens, OR
    • Camp located about 1.5 hours northwest of Portland, OR and 3.5 hours southwest of Seattle, WA
  • Cost: $15.00
    • Retreat includes room and board (3 meals on Saturday, brunch on Sunday)
    • Attendees are responsible for transportation to and from retreat (assistance with carpool coordination available at outreach@jvcnorthwest.org)
    • Modest cost thanks to generous grant from the Forum for Theological Exploration and Volunteers Exploring Vocation
  • Registration
    • Due to limited spots available, please email your name along with which program(s) you served in and the year(s) you served to outreach@jvcnorthwest.org to receive a link to the registration page
    • Registrants will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis until all spots are filled, keeping in mind the priority for alumni of the three coordinating programs
    • Waiting list available in case of any cancellations


If you have any questions about the retreat or registration process please contact JVC Northwest’s Outreach and Events Coordinator, Zach Reuter, at outreach@jvcnorthwest.org or 503-335-8202.

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Upcoming Virtual Events

Get to Know JVC Northwest

Thursday, October 28 | 7:00pm ET / 4:00pm PT

Join us to learn all the basics about a year of service in the Pacific Northwest, including where you can serve, what you might do, and how to apply. Our Recruiter, Zayna, will also share her experience as a JV in both Alaska and Montana. Finally, we’ll open it up for an informal Q+A.

Zayna Abusada

JVC Northwest Recruiter

Zayna Abusada (Ashland, MT ’17-18, Anchorage, AK ’18-19) was most recently a JV in south-central Alaska serving with immigrant and refugee English-Language learners as the Academy for Citizenship and Civics Support Specialist with the Alaska Literacy Program (ALP) in Anchorage. Zayna first served with Indigenous students on the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservations. Originally from Iowa City, Iowa, Zayna went on to earn her undergraduate degree in History and Theological Studies with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies at Saint Louis University.

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