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Retreat: Lighting the Way from St. George, Utah featured img
Category: Big Ocean Women Conferences

Retreat: Lighting the Way from St. George, Utah

September 29, 2021

When leaders for the St. George, Utah, cottage attended the global retreat in Fairview, Utah in August, they were inspired. Since most of their members couldn’t attend, they organized their own retreat three weeks later  with a light that is uniquely theirs. They described their purpose this way:  As members of Big Ocean Women, we can be a unique and important wave in the ocean of change, but we also need to find a peaceful harbor for ourselves and shine a light on that peaceful harbor so that others can come and find refuge from the storms of life. As women who embrace truth, we have that light to shine before the world, and we can lead other women to places of safety and peace.

The event included a Friday evening dinner out with Big Ocean Women board members to get better acquainted, learn about upcoming plans, and ask questions. The next day, cottage president, Gloria Boberg, hosted the group in her home. They shared breakfast, lunch, an activity, and heard presentations by two guest speakers:  Jeremy Boberg on Women and Trauma/Abuse, and St. George Police Officer Chris Randall on sex trafficking. As part of lighting the way for others, these critical discussions were recorded and can be viewed using these links. (Jeremy Boberg)  (Chris Randall, St. George police department)

When asked about her passion and service as cottage president, Gloria responded, “I have been so blessed to be a part of BOW.  My thoughts are of gratitude for all of the awesome women I work with. . . .”

Board member, Ann Takasaki, shared the story of Gloria’s beginnings as the president. I remember the first time I met Gloria.  It was at the United Nations Civil Society conference in Salt Lake City in 2019.  Gloria’s daughter-in-law had registered for the conference and had a conflict so she asked Gloria to go in her place.  I saw Gloria standing at our Big Ocean Women display table where there were T-shirts and other products for purchase.  She wanted the long sleeved navy shirt, but I explained that those shirts were only for leaders.  “I am a leader,” she said, “I’m going to start a cottage in St. George!”  She took the shirt, and the rest is history.

According to Ann, she has accomplished much during her two years in that post and has proven to be a dynamic leader who is loved and respected by her cottage members. As a token of their esteem, they presented her with a gift including their thoughtful words at the retreat. 

One of the most impressive pieces of their work is the community garden they adopted and nurtured. Gloria explained it this wayI never, ever thought our garden could be as big as it is and help so many.  This year we doubled the size of last year’s garden and added some pollinating bees.  We are still gathering produce from our garden and are really enjoying helping others.  We have been asked to create a template that can be shared with others to help them start and grow their own gardens.  This next year we will become “self-sufficient” by adding chickens, regular honeybees, and fish.  We are working with Utah State University and board member Vilma [Sagebin] to coordinate, design and implement this template.  It will then be used in places like Africa, and other places that need help to feed themselves and sustain life.

The retreat concluded with a first-hand look at their beautiful garden. They are excited about their plans for next year and the years to come and grateful for the women who have become like family members as they have joined the cottage. They also look forward to many adventures with more wonderful women as they shine their light and provide a safe harbor for themselves and others.