First Young Adults Retreat was a great success

In June, thanks to a generous donation from the family of Timothy T. Gunther (2015-NY), we held the first ever Young Adults Retreat in Warrenton, Virginia, for sons and daughters of fallen firefighters, ages 18-25. This is a group we have long wanted to serve better, and the retreat was a great success. We were struck by how welcoming and supportive participants were with one another and how quickly the group bonded. It was a diverse group that included those who lost their parent in early childhood, as well as those whose loss was very recent. These young people had a lot to say! It was a great opportunity for us to listen so we have a better idea how to help support people in this stage of life. There was also plenty of time for attendees to bike, walk, swim, and explore the beautiful Airlie Center, where the retreat was held.

As always, one of the most important elements of these events was simply bringing people together to share their stories with one another and to create networks of support. Survivor events continue this summer, with two weekend camp programs and the second Outward Bound Survivor Events week-long experience. Many thanks to all who have participated, to those who have sponsored these events with financial support, and to the members of the local fire service who help with logistics as we travel around the country.

Comments from Participants

“I felt safe enough to say aloud much of what I’ve thought for years.”

“Sharing our stories and hearing how others deal with grief lets me know I’m not alone.”

“I have longed for the chance to connect with other survivors my own age. This weekend was exactly what I needed.”

“For the first time since my father died when I was very young, I was surrounded by people who I could relate to. The amount of support, compassion, and love I received from strangers who are now family is indescribable.”