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Charterhouse Staff Re-Energized After Retreat

Seven staff from UMFS Charterhouse School in Richmond and Edinburg recently returned from the 25th Annual Reclaiming Youth Conference in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Wade Puryear has been making the westward trek each year since his tenure as Vice President of Education for Charterhouse School began in 2014. CHS’s participation in the conference, he said, dates back even further.

In fact, Wade said the Reclaiming Youth Conference is where Charterhouse School staff was introduced to the Circle of Courage model for youth development, which has for many years been at the center of the school’s philosophy.

“We’re helping students meet four essential needs,” Wade said. “Belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity.”

Each year, CHS sends a different group of teachers, therapists, and support coaches to the conference, which was attended this year by people from 21 states and six countries.

“They learned about a lot of new philosophies and approaches,” Wade said of the CHS contingent of Alyssa Reichle, Carol Kelley, Erik Alterescu, Jonnelle Morris, Lara Brown, and Patrick Gill. And while Wade is a conference veteran, this was his first year as a presenter.

(Pictured right: The Circle of Courage. The words Mitakuye Oyasin are from the Lakota language and mean “all are related.”)

“I’ve presented this workshop several times in Virginia,” he said. “But presenting in the Black Hills, with its long history of promoting positive approaches for working with our kids, was truly an overwhelming honor”

Wade’s presentation, “Hip-Hop, Letter Writing, Yoga and Other Ways to Make Talking About Trauma Safe in Schools” discusses the various and unique approaches Charterhouse School takes to addressing the trauma many of its students have endured.

The conference continues to provide endless inspiration, Wade said, noting one presenter who reminded conference attendees never to put technical skills before a caring heart.

“We definitely came back feeling re-energized,” Wade said.

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