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Controlled chaos = Kindness

The annual 5th grade Kindness Retreat is held this year at St. Ansgar's church

The+Youth+Frontier+team+leads+the+Kindness+Retreat
The Youth Frontier team leads the Kindness Retreat

The Youth Frontier team leads the Kindness Retreat

Staff Photo

Staff Photo

The Youth Frontier team leads the Kindness Retreat

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As Ellen DeGeneres once said, “Here are the values I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way people the way you want to be treated, and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.” Cannon Falls 5th graders participated in the annual Kindness Retreat at St. Ansgar’s Church on Thursday January 26th.There were also some 10th graders that were selected by teacher recommendation to help guide the 5th graders.

This retreat informed the 5th graders the effects of bullying and what Cannon Falls can do to prevent it. They sang songs, danced, played games, told stories, acted in plays, and discussed what it feels like to be included versus excluded. The 10th graders helped guide this controlled chaos, by leading the 5th graders in group discussions and with personal stories from the older students. The 10th graders who participated in the retreat included Olivia Anderson, Abby Barrett, Brooke Beissel, Molly Bowen, Abbey Dombeck, Sophie Epps, Ben Gibson, Parker Hartl, Isaac Illa, Laura Johnson, Riley Myers, Hudson Neumann, Graham Person, and Olivia Thomley. The 5th graders asked often and also guessed what it will be like when they are in high school, most of which included “a lot of homework.”

Molly Bowen discussed how the Kindness Retreat not only helped the 5th graders but the 10th grade helpers as well. She says, “the kindness retreat reminded me to go out of my way to tell people how much they mean to me, to uplift others, and to take responsibility for my actions, and to always show thanks. Although these may seem like simple ideas, everyone needs a reminder every now and then.” Mr. Bell, the elementary school principal, brought in a professional group called Youth Frontier to guide the day’s program.The school has invited Youth Frontier to come for the past 4 years, claims Bell. He goes on to share, “my favorite part of the retreat is the sharing.  It’s powerful to hear the students sharing their feelings towards one another, including some apologies for unkind acts that happened in the past.” Hannah and Spencer, the directors, brought the schedule, supplies, fun, enthusiasm, as well as amazing and insightful ideas to this event. The main theme of the Kindness Retreat, was an analogy called the “Kindness Boomerang” meaning if you ‘throw’ kindness out, it will come right back. At the end of the full day event, the 5th graders shared thank you’s to their role models and apologies to those they have hurt. Many of the 5th graders didn’t realize that being disrespectful, by interrupting or spreading gossip can hurt others, and apologized for it.

my favorite part of the retreat is the sharing”

— Principal Bell

Today, Cannon Falls and so many other places need kindness. It is beyond amazing that Cannon Falls Area Schools, is able to help spread compassion to the community, and to the world after high school. Hannah, the director of youth frontier, shared many stories to the 10th graders, talking about how this day changed many 5th graders lives. With telling so many personal stories, the 10th graders and directors had a very uplifting and positive effect among the kids. Cannon Falls can’t wait to see how this young generation will change the world into an honest, equal, and kind place.

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Controlled chaos = Kindness