Staff retreat at Pertwood

Early morning and blurry eyed 12 of our staff team met on a Sunday morning at Waterloo station to spend two days and one night at our campsite in Pertwood.  It's only once a year that we get the opportunity to leave London behind and be together as a team in a different way, in a space which feels like our 'home' and which has influenced so much of our work back at the Skip Garden.  It is an opportunity to forget about the day to day, to see ourselves beyond our roles of chef, gardener, youth facilitator, and to experience ourselves, each other and the natural world.

A part of Global Generation's work has been to give young people the possibility to find stillness and silence in their everyday lives. At Pertwood this comes naturally, going on silent walks, contemplating nature, watching the grasses move in the wind, we feel at one with the rest of the world. We wanted to give ourselves this opportunity as well and see what emerges between us if we do.  

"The retreat wasn't just from London or work, but into ourselves with no speech, communication or eye contact. At first this served to remind me of my shortcomings but over the period of the retreat, it also helped me appreciate some of my strengths. The shared experience of being alone together has reinforced my relationships with others" - Mickey

"Spending the time in Pertwood with the GG team allowed me to explore my relationship with the natural world in a unique, challenging, but certainly fulfilling way. 
Two images have particularly stuck in my mind as I write from the contrasting city... 
The Sky Larks dipping, swooping, dipping, and diving. Without hesitation, protecting their young.
The gradually uncurling leaves of the fresh ferns as they slowly matured in the Spring sun, bravely revealing their naked selves to the elements." - Emma

"Dear daughter, this is the first time since you were born I have been away from you all night. I missed you so much but I believed the universe would have looked after us and this distance, in one way or another, would have brought new developments in your growth and in our story. You will see.  It is like when you play alone with your toys. That silence will help you to learn. 
On this weekend, I put myself and you as well, in nature's hands, in the sun, in the Earth that speaks to us, in the Earth that is the place where we all come from. Dear daughter, I have many stories to tell you on my return. You are like this wind to me: you make my soul dance" - Silvia

"I am a little creature living amongst the tall grasses, each blade is like a mountain to climb.  They move in the wind and I make my way through them, finding a home.  Then I rise high above and I see them not as mountains to climb, as obstacles in my way, but as beautiful soft feathers dancing in the wind.  They sing the soft hum of life. Each moving in a different way but all together, as a whole creating the meadow.  And then I dive down again and I become one of them.  I am the blade of grass, I am me, none quite like me, yet only me because I am with others. I am the creature, I am the bird, I am the grass." - Nicole

"Being here is learning to let go to the river of life. Feeling all of us and all things around us swimming in that river. Holding silence together in the tent, by the fire, as we walk across the fields pulls me below the bubbles on the surface and I feel us as a deeper current that stirs appreciation inside me. Everyone ...everything perfect in our imperfection. Generous in our intention to step into a new and unfamiliar place together where we feel older and wiser together. A band of sisters settling into the rhythmic breathing of the grass that harbours the tiniest of jewels. All the time the birds keep singing, holding us here - so much so that the badgers reveal their whereabouts.  I feel the dropping of more of my human skin, more joining into a bigger conversation. It is strange to be saying to my colleagues be lost - don't do and right now it is the only thing to do - to hear a little more of that age old conversation ." Jane

"Silence, how noisy it can be. Fire, what good memories I have had in circles around glorious burning fires. The flames and warmth unite us and we all leave with the smoky perfume which hold the memories of the night. " Sara