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Courage to Lead for Young Leaders & Activists

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - Saturday, March 17, 2018

Pearlstone Center

DATE: March 15-17, 2018
(Retreat begins Thurs. at 4:00 PM and ends Sat. at 2:00 PM)

VENUE: Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, MD
45 minutes from Baltimore Airport

COST: Thanks to generous underwriting, your program fee, including lodging and meals, is $400

apply-button Applications due January 1, 2018

Are you passionate about your work or cause, but trying to sustain yourself in the midst of heavy demands and the urgency you feel about making a difference? This retreat offers a rare opportunity for renewal, deeper connection with kindred spirits and committed peers, and the chance to engage questions of importance to you. Courage & Renewal retreats foster personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it. This retreat offers the time and space to renew, reflect, and to:

  • Pause, be still, and disconnect from technology and the pace of a leader’s life.
  • Name the “leadership moment” you’re currently in and investigate, talk through, and honor both struggles and successes.
  • Witness and be witnessed, listen and be listened to – without performance evaluation, statusizing, or ego.
  • Strengthen your capacity to ask open-ended questions, hold tensions, and rejoin soul and role.

"quote-L"quote-RSelf care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self, and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves, but also for the many lives we touch. – Parker J. Palmer, Center for Courage & Renewal Founder and Senior Partner

CCR IsWd 5.10_555 At the retreat, you and a group of other young leaders and activists (roughly ages 20-45) will explore the intersection of our inner lives and our leadership in the world. Together, we’ll engage in large- and small-group dialogues focused on evocative texts and questions, experience silence, solitude and journaling for reflection, and tell stories from our own lives and work. This retreat is modeled on the Circle of Trust® approach developed by Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal. You can learn more about Circles of Trust at or in Parker Palmer’s book, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life.

A Past Participant Reflects: “As a young, incredibly overworked and exhausted individual working for social change, it often becomes hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel … [This retreat] not only allowed me to recognize that this light was already inside me, but helped me fall in love with my work again and look forward to decades more of love and service that I have to give to my movement.” – Vanessa Valenti, Co-Founder of, Principal in Valenti Martin Media

Retreat Leadership

Brian Braganza is a Courage & Renewal & Facilitator and experiential educator specializing in community resiliency, sustainability education, youth engagement and systems change. He has a long history with the HeartWood Centre for Community Youth Development and supports a wide diversity of youth and young adults to have meaningful roles and voices in their communities. Brian delivers experiential programs for men and boys, which builds their abilities to connect authentically and live into their wholeness. From 2012-2015 he co-designed and delivered Dalhousie University’s Sustainability Leadership Certificate Program, increasing participant’s capacity to take effective social and environmental action. Brian’s own personal transformations and continual desire to uncover his best self led him to the work of Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal. He lives in a straw-bale home he built on an old farm near Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. Brian is also a wilderness traveller, poet and songwriter and plays regularly with the band MakeShift.

Marcia Lee aspires to create a more just and compassionate world through deep reflection and conscious actions. In addition to being a Courage and Renewal facilitator, Marcia leads peacemaking circles and facilitates trainings in restorative justice. She is the director of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph. She works with a group of women of color healers. Marcia is a part of an intentional community in Detroit and they aim to live out the intersection of their spirituality and social justice. She is grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of the Courage and Renewal family and hopes to meet you one day!
*Currently in the Facilitator Preparation Program

Kathryn McElveen, Program Director for Courage to Lead for Young Leaders & Activists, is a professional leadership coach (PCC) and Courage & Renewal facilitator whose work helps emerging and established leaders increase capacities for personal, organizational, and cultural transformation. She thrives in creating spaces where differences among people are valued and hearts and minds can expand to integrate new awareness. As a community activist, she works towards systemic reform in racial and gender equity, interfaith collaboration, and building healthy communities. Kathryn is an ordained clergyperson in the United Methodist Church, where she has served as a congregational pastor and leadership formation consultant, and is the co-author of ‘Faith Coaching: A Conversational Approach to Helping Others Move Forward in Faith’ (2008) and ‘The Faith Coaching Toolkit’ (2009). Kathryn lives in Travelers Rest, South Carolina with her husband, Rimes, and their four young children. Together they enjoy exploring rivers and trails, growing food, learning new things, and adding love and light to the world.

About Our Venue

Pearlstone Retreat Center sits on 160 acres with rolling hills, wooded trails, a 2-acre pond, sport fields and educational farm. Engaging Jewish, faith-based, and secular organizations, individuals, and families, Pearlstone Retreat Center serves all ages and backgrounds throughout Baltimore, the Chesapeake region, and beyond.| 

Program Costs

PROGRAM FEES: $400. A generous grant from the Kalliopeia Foundation in support of our work with young leaders has allowed us to heavily underwrite this retreat, the full cost of which is usually $750. Your reduced rate, including meals and lodging, will be $400. *Please do not send payment until you have been notified of acceptance.

TRAVEL: You are responsible for travel to and from the event.

FINANCIAL AID: Due to the reduced program fee for this retreat we have limited funds available for further financial aid. However, we are committed to making programs available to people of all financial means. To apply, visit We also have payment plan options.

Applying for this Retreat

Due to the strong interest that this program has generated we have an application process for selecting participants. We will be creating a diverse cohort of young leaders by attending to the following: a range of work experience in different sectors as well as gender, race, and geographical representation. Participation will be limited to 30 people and we anticipate more applications than spaces available.

Begin your application process by clicking the button below!

Applications are due online by midnight, January 1, 2018.

Participants will be notified of acceptance by February 1, 2018.

To submit an application, please prepare your answers to the following questions that you will be asked to upload:

1) What is your hope for participation in terms of your work, activism or leadership?

2) What is the setting or context in which you currently do you work and how would you describe your role and responsibilities?

3) What question are you currently holding about your life or vocation?

If you have questions about the program, email: Kathryn McElveen, or call the Center: (206) 466-2055

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