Contributed by Michell Watanuki, Shinnyo-en Hawaii Youth Association member
The IPTP has been a unique experience for me because the various activities helped me learn more about myself and how I can become a better person for others.
The first aspect I enjoyed was being provided with an environment to speak with different types of people from different age groups. As a student, people I speak with are usually limited to those who are the same age as me or in the same age group, but this retreat allowed me to talk to those who are older than me, or in a different stage of life, providing me with many different perspectives on life and how things can be seen through a different set of eyes. When people share their life experiences, it is as if I have also experienced what they’ve experienced, and I am able to learn the lessons they’ve learned through it. This has helped me grow as a person.
Another valuable facet of the retreat was how the activities highlighted self-reflection and finding ourselves. I am always amazed at how much I learned about myself through this retreat, and this has motivated my self-growth by helping me understand myself better, and what I can do to improve myself or how I can do things such as highlighting my strengths and improving my weaknesses. The leadership activities helped me understand that I need to improve on projecting my voice and sharing my ideas and information, rather than just assisting others or doing things on my own. Through this retreat, I was able to learn what my strengths are and how I can use them to become a better leader and better person, in general, to help make the world a better place.
Something else I have also learned was how similar, yet different we all are from each other, and how we are never alone in our struggles. Hearing others share their experiences brought us all closer together as we had relatable moments and parts. Yet different approaches we all took to these situations allowed us to learn from each other in different ways to tackle similar struggles.
I was very fortunate to be able to attend both retreats on Oahu, and reuniting with the people I met in the first retreat was a precious experience. Despite there being a few years in between due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it felt like nothing changed and time didn’t pass. Upon our reunion, we all reconnected and welcomed the new people who weren’t at the previous retreat and instantly became one again.
Please see more photos from the IPTP Leadership Retreat #2 in Hawaii at this link.