The Words of the Stein Family

STF Kickoff Workshop Report

Will Stein
September 19, 2005


It’s been exciting times, the STF 2005 kickoff workshop is underway! After meeting so many new people, hearing so much Divine Principle content, and undergoing exciting STF team building exercises – it’s no wonder many are saying that the past two weeks have felt like ages.

This is Will Stein reporting right outside Blue Grass, Iowa, where STF’s 5th class is beginning their 21 day kickoff workshop as they train to become our True Parents elite troops! The kickoff workshop has been full of a variety of educational activities to prepare the new recruits for the front line. Whether we’ve been playing sports, hearing lectures or participating in challenging activities, STFers have been learning how to build teamwork through working together and focusing on the theme of our workshop; "How does the Divine Principle apply to my life?".

STF spares nothing in making sure to have the best education they can offer. Truly inspired by the DREAM BIG mentality, they’ve brought two outstanding lecturers, from opposing sides of America to tiny Blue Grass Iowa to offer our STFers only the best. We’ve had the honor of both Mr. Robert Irwin from California (formerly Jamaica) and the Rev. Phillip Schanker visiting us from Bethesda, Maryland. Each taking one half of the Divine Principle, Mr. Irwin the first week and Rev. Schanker the second, these two lecturers have offered our 2nd generation truly an outstanding Divine Principle curriculum. Many have expressed a new found interest in the content. Whispers of inspiration are carried through the wind of YMCA camp Abe Lincoln as STFers can be heard on the basketball court sidelines or over the lunch tables stating things like, "I never knew the DP covered this much stuff", or "It all makes sense. It all fits together!". Truly we have a great year ahead of us.

Besides the lectures STF has been honored with the visits of many of our top CARP leaders, inspired by what no other word has been able to describe besides what has come to be known as "that STF spirit". We were especially honored with the visit of the Rev. Jin Man Kwak, executive vice president of World CARP, who gave a very rare testimony into his experience with the True Children whom he has had such a privilege of being near. Rev. Jin Man Kwak spent almost two hours with STF delicately conveying what he has been able to gain from his precious experiences with the True Children. Upon reading reflections from those present, it is evident that the STF members could really come to gain a deeper understanding of the heart of the True Children, and went on to express their gratitude for this rare opportunity. Parents too, communicated their appreciative heart for the love shared with them that day. Truly this precious insight of the True Family won’t be easily forgotten by anyone present.

But education doesn’t just end in the classroom – we need to experience it. This year we’ve had many outdoor challenges focusing on the idea of bringing the team to work together. One competition, teams were challenged in all areas of skill, where the best qualities of each team member could shine. Teams we’re asked to select members who would represent in areas such as intellect, coordination, athletics, endurance, artistic ability, communication and – of course, eating. As the day wore on, many realized the value of the different characters which make up a team, and how creating a harmonized environment the team could accomplish, otherwise seemingly impossible tasks. Like later in the day when they were challenged in crossing a pool as a team with out getting wet and all they could use was one giant tarp!

Teamwork doesn't stop there. Through the ages STF has developed their very own sport commonly known as ‘The Water gun Game’. Team unity is the prevailing strategy in this sport where team members must protect their own king, while trying to drench the enemies with up to four foot water blasters. Our patent pending toilet paper hats don’t match to super soakers latest and greatest. Once the paper breaks – that’s all it takes.

Teamwork education is important, but have you forgotten about our theme for this workshop? I hope not. As well as team work education, the kickoff workshop is focusing very much on our theme; "How does the Divine Principle apply to my life?" The workshop, twenty-one days long, also includes a four day "actionizing" portion, where the new STFers get a glimpse of the fundraising lifestyle, but more importantly – a chance to practice the content they’ve gained prior. Minutes earlier two local teams have just returned from their first day of fundraising! Smiles are bright and spirits are high. This year’s potential is really shining.

As the first years are returning, the second years have just left! Just two days prior the second year STF veterans began their two week fundraising journey to Berkeley California, where they will undergo a three week training course on the witnessing curriculum. The witnessing group had their own workshop simultaneously here, with guest speakers like Rev. Joshua Cotter, Rev. Mito and guest lecturer Rev. Higashino, as well as their own outdoor activities such as this camps Alpine ropes course. The second year witnessing group has shown a great amount of heart towards the new STF members by creating for them reflection notebooks. Out of magazine cutouts and HDH quotes, this year’s new members were so moved when they saw the amount of heart and investment that went into these precious notebooks that will be used the year throughout.

YMCA camp Abe Lincoln is quite the accommodating camp as, yet even a third workshop has been held here simultaneously these past two weeks. Kickoff 2005 has been home also to our very own Parents workshop.

With one week left, things are looking great here in Blue Grass Iowa as the 5th class of STF really undergoes important training that will prepare them for the great year that lies ahead. Hyun Jin Nim once said that "Experiential learning is the core curriculum of our lives", and experiential learning is exactly the education that STF has to offer. With big smiles and bright faces, the 2nd generation front is mobilizing, ready to follow in the footsteps of our parents, one in heart with God and True Family.


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