The Words of the Dickson Family

The 2008 Kickoff Workshop has begun!

Megan Dickson
July 30, 2008

2008 is a year of new beginnings, the number 8 symbolizing a new start on a new level. With new leadership in all areas of the movement, the Special Task Force is experiencing new developments in the program as well. At the same time, in a way, STF is returning to its roots: this years' kickoff workshop is hosted at UTS -- not only a historic property for early members, but the first place to kickoff the STF program in 2001 and the first place Hyun Jin Nim addressed STF.

On July 25th over 100 first years arrived in New York to kick off the 08-09 year -- by far the largest incoming group since a few years, joined by about 60 returning 2nd year and 3rd years. For the first time the core staff are joined by a second generation commander, Tomeo Wise, a graduate from the University of Northern Colorado, who has returned to STF to support his younger brothers and sisters last October.

After orientation, and initial team building activities, a lively welcome entertainment, the kickoff transitioned to a more regular schedule. Following roll call, Pledge and Hoon Dok Hae, a daily run along Father's Trail, and breakfast members receive internal guidance through services given by first and second generation leadership.

Beginning on the 28th, the first years were guided through Father's Course by Rev. Higashino, who has been an energetic lecturer.

Afternoons are filled with sports and activities, introduction to the STF favorite volleyball… an evening programs: testimonies, guidance, talent and entertainment nights, educational films, and reflection.

Every STF year differs from the former. The incoming year is a highly diverse group, with high school graduates from all over the States, members with college experience, as well as international BC's representing Sri Lanka, Japan, Taiwan, Cambodia, Mexico and Canada.

Each participant brings a lot to the camp, in their background, experiences, and character, contributing to the strong spirit and energy at UTS this summer. A family atmosphere and culture is developed more each day as members grow closer within their teams and groups.

The kickoff is always an exciting introduction to the year. On the 5th of August STF will arrive in Washington DC to support the USA Global Peace Festival. Following the Festival and some experience of fundraising as an introduction to the front line and team life, the workshop will reconvene at the Seminary in Barrytown where the first years will begin a more focused Divine Principle study, receiving lectures, taking tests to take ownership over the content, and gaining experience and training through their own lecturing. The workshop will provide more internal guidance and preparation for their first condition, volley ball tournaments, team activities, goal setting, and time for reflection and prayer.

The 2008 STF kickoff workshop will conclude with the annual Families Workshop, where members and their parents and siblings enjoy games, sports, and activities together, share experiences through testimony, offer song and entertainment together, spend time in the beautiful nature surrounding UTS, and start the STF year together with the support of their families. We hope to have many exciting and powerful guest speakers.

2008 is off to a great new start, gaining momentum with each day. With the year's vision of "Discover Myself as a Child of God and a member of the extended True Family", it's going to be an exciting and powerful year of self-discovery and transformation, taking the steps to own our faith and relationship with God, and connect to our identity as members of extended True Family. 

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