Thursday, July 26, 2018

Summer Teen Camp 2018

In the early morning hours of July 14, thirteen members (11 teens, 2 advisors) of our Santa Rosa teen group embarked for a week long adventure at the beautiful mountain site of Buckhorn Camp in Idyllwild Ca. for Centers for Spiritual Living summer teen camp 2018. Along our travels we met up with one more teen and advisor making our group 15 strong! A total of 345 teens and advisors from Centers through out the USA, Canada and Jamaica were present for a week of spiritual connection, workshops and play.

Cabin bonding night has become a great way to get to know the people in the cabins. Since we don't spend much time in our cabins, other than to sleep and get ready for the day, this event is a fun way to get to know each other make new friends and create a bit of team spirit.

This year each cabin created a cabin flag (not pictured) and a paper chain and choose one representative to compete in the great Rock Paper Scissors challenge. Pictured to the left is Lily Downs who made it through the first round.

Estrella Pacheco and Charles Woodside each made it into the semi finials. After each round the winner acquired the paper chain of the looser. What you can't see in the picture is that both Estrella and Charles were covered, and or trailing, a huge pile of paper chains. Shout out to Estrella who won this round and went up against the eventual winner of the event.

Our evenings sessions continued with a variety of events. Advisor night being one of the most powerful. This is where a team of five to six advisors share something very personal that they have overcome through applied spiritual practice. Other events include advisor talent night, teen talent night and the Hootenanny, a night of comedy, skits, music and the infamous Padawan skit. A parody of camp put on by those moving into adulthood.

Then there is Empowerment night. This year we separated into age groups and were guided through a series of questions posed by advisors on what it's like to be our specific age. Each person was invited to create a paper leaf in a specific colors with a positive affirmation or statement written on it. When we came back together, each group added their leaf to a large family tree. The tree became a symbol of our connection for the week. It also became a great place to take photos with our camp families as pictured below with mine, Family 16.
On Wednesday afternoon we participated in the teen business meeting facilitated by the current International leadership team. During this meeting teens voted for one of three organizations that will receive a tithe donation from "CSLTeens". The organization chosen was the International Red Cross. We also listened to speeches from the candidates running for the incoming teen leadership team. Nine teens in total created the slate of candidates with six positions available. Only teens are allowed to vote for the incoming leaders. They are instructed to put aside popularity and friendships and choose who they feel will make strong leaders to represent them over the coming year.
Our last day and night together was a mixture of closure with our camp families and a super fun outdoor party complete with water slides, a dunk tank, a pie toss, and carnival snacks. It was a wet and wild adventure full of laughter and fun.
Later that evening was the closing dance. Halfway through the dance the new slate of leadership was announced. Santa Rosa had two teens running for leadership and BOTH of them were voted in! Congratulations to Dylan Jansen and Danna Iversen for your dedication to Center for Spiritual Living Teens.
There are many more stories from our week at camp. Our days were long, beginning at 7:30am for great awake and ending near 11:00pm for lights out. We made new friends, strengthened bonds with existing friends and said farewell to those moving on. We are very grateful for all the love and support of our Santa Rosa community who made it possible for us to attend. Thank you for making our 2018 summer camp experience one to remember for a lifetime!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Overflowing with Gratitude!

On June 3rd, our beloved Center for Spiritual Living Santa Rosa community helped our teens have the most successful fundraiser EVER! At the beginning of each morning service, we shared a short video, that was recorded by our teens and put together by our dear Rev. Edward. Our teens then staffed two tables in the social hall and welcomed your love and your loving donations. By the end of the day we had received just over $4676. 

The following week, we were notified that three of our teens received a $200 scholarship each through the Centers for Spiritual Living Teen Camp Scholarship program!

When all the funds were combined, along with previous funds raised and donated (specifically for teen camp) we were able to 100% scholarship the eleven teens who are qualified and able to attend this years CSL summer teen camp program.

We are overflowing with gratitude for each and every donation and words of support and kindness received. Your generosity is a demonstration of a prayer intention we set last year! We are so excited to meet up with teens from across the United States, Canada and Jamaica this July and celebrate the love we have in our hearts through the outpouring of your loving kindness.

Thank you, Center for Spiritual Living Santa Rosa!


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Voting with a youthful Voice!

On June 5th, we adults in California have a job to do and that is to get out and VOTE!!! Regardless of where we are in political affiliation, it's time to pay close attention to the candidates who are running and the policies and issues they are passionate about. It is up to us adults to get out of our own way and to listen to the voices of the youth. For it is their future we are setting in motion through the elected officials we place in office.

Over the weekend of May 19/20 our friends at the Center for Spiritual Awareness (CSA) in West Sacramento hosted a teen overnight. Approximately 50 teens and adults representing 6 Centers, gathered together for a fun, engaged time of connection. One of my personal highlights was a walk from Old Sacramento along the Capital Mall where we gathered together on the steps of State Capital. It was a beautiful night, a little breezy, yet the energy of being together was electric. It was the perfect moment to reflect on the issues that are at the forefront of the minds of the teen population, our upcoming voters, so that us adults can make informed choices when it comes time for us to vote.

We witnessed the flag flying at half staff, in honor of the lives lost at the latest school shooting in Texas, and took a moment to send our love and prayers to all the victims and their families. Then one by one, the teens spoke out loud the issues that they are most concerned about. Gun violence/Gun control. The need for tighter restrictions for purchase and the elimination assault rifles. Mental Health education and funding so that instead of cutting programs we have more services available. Reduced fees or free education programs - trade schools - and higher education options. Keeping programs available and funded such as planned parenthood and DACA. Housing options for the un-housed/homeless population. Keeping creative arts programs in public schools. Suicide prevention and awareness training and more programs that help students learn healthy ways to deal with anxiety and depression.

We listened with hearts open. We also shared the importance of staying involved and informed. One advisor shared that teens can preregister to vote when they get their Ca. drivers license so that when they turn 18, voter information will automatically be sent to them. It was a heart warming discussion filled with hope.

In true Center for Spiritual Living teen style, we put our hands together and rubbed them with warmth and positive energy taking all we had discussed and releasing it in a blessing upon the State seal, the Capital building and the Nation. I am so grateful to Louis Gonzalez and all the staff of CSA for opening their spiritual home and creating a space for us to come together in love.

When it comes time for you to cast your vote, please listen to what is in your heart and to the issues that matter to the youth in your life and vote in the spirit of the youthful voice.
We are all in this together!
With Love and Blessings ~ Susan Robinson, RScP

Monday, May 14, 2018

Growing in the flow of the Divine

Coming up with creative projects to complement our lessons in Youth and Family Ministry often requires a big dose of imagination blended with Divine Inspiration. Such was the case a few lessons ago when we used our hand prints as a way of expressing our individuality in the form of a fish.

Our lesson was focused on our individual expression within the Mind of God. Our complementary reading for the day were the books, You be You and Only One You by Linda Kranz. 

Linda has a wonderful web site ( with free printable worksheets that we used for our pre-class activity however, when it came time for us to have some creative expression everyone loved the idea of using their own hand prints to create their one of kind masterpiece.

The creative genius in the room was contagious! A little bit of extra craft paper, googly eyes, glue on gems and lots of imagination went a long way to support the sea of creativity that sparked to life in our classrooms.

You could say, we were growing in the flow of the Divine and having a great time doing it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Celebrating Earth Day

On April 20th we merged our youth lesson with a celebration of Earth Day.

It was the perfect time to remind ourselves what an amazing miracle this life is. That inside all of us is Universal presence that exists in every aspect of being, in every form of being and in all the space in-between.

We spent time marveling at how our bodies know exactly what is needed to function on the inside. How everything works together to support each of us. From the transportation system of our veins and arteries, to the factories of the heart and brain, to the mechanics of our joints and bones ~ all of it working together in harmony for our highest good in every moment.

We expanded this idea to include the miracle of everything around us, our plants, trees, oceans, rivers, pets, friends, family and the precious planet we live on. We spent time sharing all the ways we care for the planet, and explored a few ideas that we can add to be even more mindful of our resources.

When it came time to have a little creative fun we re-purposed and re-used as many items as we could to create mini versions of ourselves. Being that we are one with all of life, that meant embracing our connection to everything. Some of us choose to look through the eyes of animals ~ or to have the body of nature.

Some of the students choose to add words to their projects, such as, Nash who wrote "I am Nature" or Mateo who added "I love Life" and Sophia who reminded us "We only have one Planet, so let's take care of it."

Sage advise and reminders from our young friends that we can all benefit from.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Volunteer Spotlight!

It takes a lot of volunteers to support our Youth Ministry and Nancy Moorehead has been doing it for the past 18 years!

If Nancy looks familiar to you, it's likely because youth ministry isn't the only place she offers sacred service to our Center. She assists twice a month in our finance department, helping count the Sunday offerings. She serves as an usher on 5th Sunday's and she is often found in the rose garden quietly tending the soil, pulling weeds and nurturing the rose bushes with her tender loving care.

Recently I asked Nancy what some of her favorite things are about serving in youth ministry. "I love listening and learning from what the children share" she replied "Sometimes the wisdom of a 4 year old is exactly what I needed to hear."

As a teacher, I appreciate the beautiful way Nancy shares her love of Spirit and Nature when we are together in circle time. I'll often schedule our new volunteer assistants to serve when Nancy is present so they can witness the gentle loving way she greets our families and tends to the needs of the children during our time together.

Nancy's preferred service time is 11:30 and she is often with us several times a month, which is rare and wonderful. In her own words ~ "I feel like I get so much more than I give."

We are so grateful for all you give, share and the joyful way in which you do it. 
Thank you, Nancy ~ we love and appreciate you!

Susan Robinson, RScP
Director, Youth and Family Ministry

If you are interested in volunteering in our youth ministry, please send an inquiry to

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Honoring our teens with Gratitude and Love

It was my honor to participate along with three of our teens at last Wednesday’s evening service. In Rev. Tara Steele's closing statements she invited those in attendance to write a personal commitment on a 3x5 card after service, and if they choose, to leave a message of encouragement and support behind for our teens. I was going to have one of our volunteers type them up - but decided to do it myself. I am grateful I did. The words were a healing balm to my soul.

In addition to these words of inspiration and encouragement, I have been approached by several members of our community since the service, sharing how grateful they are to have attended and how inspired they are to take action to make a difference in the world. Two people have contacted me directly, interested in volunteering in our youth/teen program. And, the bond that was already deep within our teens, seems to have grown even more deeply.

I am grateful to be a part of this community and all that includes, staff member, Practitioner, Teacher, Mentor… and my Momma Bear pride is off the charts for these amazing young people who are growing up and being the change we all so very much wish to see.

There is movement in creating “A world that works for everyone” and our youth and teens are leading the way.

Below is the written word piece by Estrella Rose Pacheco that was read during the service by Kalyla Harper and the community comments that were shared with us after the service. It's a long post, but well worth the read!

Thank you all for your love and dedication to the spiritual enrichment of this beautiful Life ~ I am honored to serve with you!

With Love,
Susan Robinson, RScP
Director, Youth and Family Ministry
Center for Spiritual Living Santa Rosa

A written word piece by: Estrella Rose Pacheco

Three weeks ago a student wrote a threat on the bathroom wall of my school, as I evacuated campus a child lit off fireworks, sounding so much like what we all feared, and we all ran for cover.

That night I fell asleep and was in a dream. A lock-down in a classroom - while lights flash - shots sound - and money flows out of slot machines on the wall. - All I can hear is the heavy breathing of the future scared behind their books and the clanking of blood money.

I wake up.  I go to school.
I stop thinking about slope intercepts to wonder, where I would hide, should one kid decide to hurt others?

I tell myself  "Fear should not rule my life!"
Yet even my sleep is ruled by death, fear and the money it generates. 

So I say Dear America, 
How many tears will I cry before you cry with me? 
How many days will I sit scared before the day you decide enough is enough?
How many steps will I march before, you take a step to stop the violence? 
How many voices will yell before you tell the future you care? 
How many prayers will you say for tomorrow before you realize WE ARE tomorrow? 
How many hearts will break before your heart goes out to us? 
How many lives will be taken before our lives are in our own hands? 

Under one sky we all dream for tomorrow.
Dear America, let me see tomorrow. 

On one planet we love one another.
Dear America, let me know my future lover.

In one day so many are born.
Dear America, let me hold my own child.

On your birthday we hear fireworks,
Dear America, let them be beautiful again.

In a life we care for each other
Dear America, let those who need help receive it.

For a moment we hurt for each other, 
Dear America, let our hurt not be forgotten at the end of the day.

With each moment a life is born, 
Dear America, let us live our best life today.

Community Comments
You are amazing young beings with your whole life’s ahead of you and look how great you are starting out. Thoughtful, aware, loving, caring. Thank you for being who you are!!
I appreciate your beautiful, vulnerable, honest expression of your power through your individual sparkle of God.
We support you on all levels of your marvelous endeavors. Thank you for tonight.
I thank you for your bravery, strength and faith. You walk tall and strong for our Earth. Heads High – Eyes clear. Xoxo
Thank you for your courageous Hearts!
I am so grateful to hear your voice and encouraged that I can be more like you.
Fifty years ago today I mourned the passing of Martin Luther King. I reflected and thought how far we have come, yet we still have a ways to go. May this generation see it through.
Keep on Keeping on…
I am so incredibly Proud of all of you!!
In my heart I feel your power (not BS) your strength and your commitment to honor the goodness of our shared history and most importantly your decision to move forward facing the many challenges of our future. I honor and thank you. <3
I have been a photographer for 20 years. The program this evening has committed me to using my art to create visual awareness of what our young people spoke and prayed for.
Thank you so much for your Love and your strength and your beauty and for sharing it with our community. We hear you, we see you and we believe in you. Together, we are one. And so it is!
Hello my Darlings, Thank you so much for being you! for speaking truth, nonviolence and Love. I commit to the peace and justice center of Santa Rosa. I commit to speak, March and Love!
Thank you for your words, your thoughts, your courage! You are all an inspiration and a strength in this world. You are so needed! Thank you for being the change. I stand with YOU!!!
Thank you wondrous youth for your bravery and wisdom. Keep speaking your truth!
Hearing these young people speak their courageous Truth and Power gives me Hope and faith in the evolution of our Earth. Namaste and Thanks
I have hope again thanks to our youth. <3
I am grateful for the fortitude, courage and intelligence of our youth.
Be brave, be courageous, and stand up for the truth! <3 You give me hope!!
It brings me great comfort that you express your thoughts and feelings clearly and with such depth. Thank you ! <3
To our wonderful, courageous youth – you have touched me, our world deeply. I am so filled with hope for our world hearing your voices rise up and ring out with Truth and Love. You have shown the way back to hope and peace and I for one will support and learn from your amazing leadership. God Bless you All!
Thank you for standing up for yourselves and all of the rest of us.
What a powerful service… I appreciate all of you and your efforts. I commit to loving and supporting my 2 grandchildren 4 & 7months to a life of Love and Peace. And to support everyone I encounter to forward the agenda of Love and Peace.
I am honored to be in the presence of one amazing high school son, which brings me into the presence of so many of the teen group. You are all simply amazing!
I am grateful for our youth’s bravery, love, intelligence and peace that they bring to the world. It is a good reminder of what many older people have lost. They give me hope.
I am blessed by the teen groups ability to embrace the diversity of all of the teen community! Love to all of you!
Thank you for having the wisdom & courage it takes to be a facilitator of change!
Continue to shine bright. The world needs your positive energy. I believe in the power of our youth!!
One Love – What inspiring brilliant lights of love and strength, we were honored to be a part of this magical sacred space to hold with our youth and collective futures. I promise to always be open hearted, to listen actively and stand with and for our youth.
We value you and your journey.
Thank YOU.  Thank You!
Thank You for being the good we need in the world today and in the future! I support you all. Blessings.
I love you guys and gals. Thank you for being brave. Never give up on yourself or the fight.
Let us support all Life, Animals and Humans and eliminate all guns.
I will continue to march and vote and take action on your behalf and for all of us to change gun laws. I will speak and share with others a calm centered conviction for essential change in our country. Peace to all of us – with action.
Thank you for shining a light of love with your activism. I have stood and will stand with you both in Spirit and activism. I am so proud to hear your wondrous voices of Peace.
Thank you for your words of wisdom, your courage and your strength to stand up for the Truth. That together we can create change… We can create a world where we are at peace, where we embrace each other. All of us, together, appreciating diversity and difference knowing diversity makes us stronger. One Love.
I thank Kalyla and Dylan for being amazing. They are really good people in my life!
I want you to know that I have your backs and I will continue working toward a better world for all of us.
I want you to know that I was very moved by your talks tonight. I will sign every petition against gun violence. I will go to more marches. Thank you for speaking up. You are all awesome!
Teens: I so appreciate the willingness to speak your truth. You help me awaken to my truth. Thank you!
Beauty is deep with you all, and kindness through the pain. May Love be in around you always. God Bless you.
Thank you for your strong clear message. You are so Powerful. I stand with you in prayer for your support.
My gratitude is for Sonoma County Supervisor Shirley Zane, an advocate for homeless in Sonoma County and for (those suffering from) Mental Illness.
You guys are fantastic – leaders already! Keep going strong. I appreciate and Love you. <3
Know that you are loved, absolutely and whole heartedly ~ “just the way that you are, and just the way that you are not” <3
I stand for youth experiencing Freedom & Pure Love.
You are held in Loving Space!
In the future, when you think things can’t get any worse, they can. When you think you’re at the end of your rope, you will survive. Next time you’re at the end of your rope, you will say I’ve been in the place before and some how I survived to live again.
…the dew on the soil of the heart.
I will give my smiles, express my thankfulness and joy more frequently – daily – to everyone I see. And, I will get back to my spiritual practice!
I will save my money and use it wisely rather than squander it.
Dear Susan & CSL Teens, You are guiding lights and I am so inspired to carry the vision of wholeness and oneness forward. I will finish that gun legislation idea and send it to my congressmen & women.  I love you all.

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