The YES alumni in Lebanon always look forward to their annual retreat. The excitement to get together from all different cohorts, learn new skills, and plan future community service events makes the retreat one of the biggest highlights of the year. Since COVID-19 restrictions have limited in-person activities, the YES alumni in Lebanon had to get creative and organize this year’s annual retreat as a virtual event!
On April 10, the YES alumni in Lebanon had their first virtual retreat, a three-hour event filled with icebreakers, activities, and discussions. Christopher Littlefield, an international speaker and author, facilitated the event and provided the alumni with networking tools and new professional contacts to help build their careers. This virtual event was also special due to the presence of two guests from the U.S. State Department. Dorothy Shea, the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon, gave the welcoming remarks, and Kris McElwee, Program Officer at the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, also participated in the retreat.
This year’s retreat also offered an opportunity for alumni who are currently living abroad to join and reconnect with their friends back home. The new class of YES alumni was excited to meet their peers from the first cohorts dating back to 2003. Since their time on the YES program, some of these alumni are now professional doctors, engineers, artists, business experts, and marketing experts. Older alumni shared career advice and their expertise with the younger generation, who greatly appreciated the tips and suggestions.
In addition to connecting with one another, this event was an opportunity for alumni to remember the importance of slowing down and taking a deep breath in the midst of an ever-changing world. The YES alumni always find a way to stick together — even during a global pandemic!
Read about an example of an in-person YES alumni retreat in Lebanon from 2019 here.