Learn & Serve: Fall 2013 Retreats Wrap-Up!

It’s been a busy fall for Learn & Serve at SIFAT!  We have had so many wonderful groups from across the southeast come to our campus in Lineville, AL for L&S programming.  As we slow down for the winter season, we wanted to share a glimpse of this past season with you!

During Fall 2013, we had 1,903 participants experience a variety of Learn & Serve retreat programs.  This is a 37% increase from participation in Fall 2012 Retreats!  Here are a couple of highlights from our fall retreat groups:

The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing brought students to Learn & Serve as part of global and community health nursing curriculum.  By working with them we have been able to create new programming to better meet their needs and the needs of other nursing schools in the area. Our programming now displays not only the way in which others live in developing countries but highlights the health risks affecting those living in less than ideal conditions around the world. We have also incorporated appropriate technology training allowing students to see alternative ways of preventing illness. UAB School of Nursing has helped us improve our programming when it comes to health issues in urban and rural areas of developing countries and we are thankful for their interest and support in what we do here at Learn & Serve.

Around The World was another popular program this fall! During Around the World (ATW) students tour select countries in our Global Village and are introduced to the style of living in that particular country!  Students are introduced to the culture and lifestyle of many people around the world and have the chance to participate— tortilla making is a popular activity in our Guatemala house, the traditional dance tinikling is done in the Philippines, and most will leave with red hands from making bricks!

One group in particular loved our ATW experience but wanted more.  Ranburne High School was a group that really caught our attention as they brought their 9th and 10th grade Spanish class to our campus.  Our staff guided them through Guatemala, Bolivia, and Ecuador to teach them about different Spanish-speaking countries.  They also got a glimpse of the rest of the world by touring Uganda, the Philippines, and our Urban Slum. Ranburne students also got to learn about appropriate technology while making CINVA Ram bricks. It was a full day of learning that we hope was enjoyable for all of our Around The World participants this fall.

Ranburne High School Spanish classes came to SIFAT this fall to experience an Around the World Learn & Serve Retreat, where they had an opportunity to learn about several different spanish-speaking countries!


Many groups also came for overnight retreats to experience the lives of our brothers and sisters around the world.  Students are exposed to the different ways of living through sleeping on the floor of an authentic Nigerian house, cooking meals over an open fire or working to provide food and rent for their family during an Urban Slum Experience.  Munholland United Methodist Church of Metairie, Louisiana joined us for a Learn & Serve Retreat in October.

A group from Munholland UMC in Metairie, LA joined SIFAT for a Learn & Serve retreat in October, they participated in Challenge Course, Global Village Overnight, and our Urban Slum Prayer Experience programming.


Munholland UMC students and leaders experienced our Challenge Course, Global Village, and spent time in prayer for people of the world through our Slum Prayer Experience.  They participated fully with enthusiasm and embraced the difficult and uncomfortable parts of the weekend.

Winter provides our staff with time for much-needed planning and visioning, but our Learn & Serve retreats will continue in the spring!  If you are interested in bringing a group to our campus for L&S programming, please contact learnandserve@sifat.org and visit our website for details on programming options.