Louisville Rites of Passage inaugural retreat held in October

By Claude Stephens

The Louisville Rites of Passage Program (LROP) focuses on teens to support their healthy transition into adulthood. Black youth participated in the inaugural event with a retreat at Bernheim in October. They gathered at the Lakehouse for the one-day event, which included a hike on the Rock Run Loop and a visit to Spirit Nest.

“We reflected on our connection to nature, how nature speaks to us and on our lives and the life of Black people,” said Kristen Williams, Executive Director of Play Cousins Collective. “We ended our night with building a fire and paused to reflect on what it takes to light the fire within us.”

Creating connections to the land is one of the four areas the young people will address as they develop their goals for the program. The others include self-determination, heritage, and community. The youths will visit Bernheim once a month for this five-month pilot, which will grow into a year-round program.

“Bernheim is honored to participate in this partnership to support and facilitate their deep connections with nature,” said Melissa Rue, Coordinator for the Children at Play Network and a member of the LROP Steering Committee. “Spending time in nature is critical for health and well-being and offers benefits that last a lifetime.”

LROP is funded through a grant from the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence and supported by Heaven Hill.

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