Reaching into his pocket to pull out a crumbled up permission slip, Javontia mumbled, “my bags are already packed.” Nina received his permission slip for PTM’s first-ever Extreme Retreat and explained that the retreat wasn’t for another four weeks, so he doesn’t have to pack just yet. Often our students (and parents) do not read all the way through a permission slip, and I am sure we will have to remind Javontia again when the retreat is, but I was touched by his eagerness for this outing. Javontia loves overnight trips. He loves being away from school. He loves being away from the noise of his own home.
I was also touched by his enthusiasm for this trip because Javontia rarely shows much enthusiasm for the activities around PTM. He does not feel successful academically. He gets in a lot of trouble. He has been caught stealing from PTM and even vandalizing PTM property. But, he keeps coming back. To see him light up about a trip gives me hope.
Even though my bags aren’t packed quite yet, I am pretty pumped for our inaugural Extreme Retreat. Thanks to a generous grant from the Junior League of Nashville, our SaLT students will have a chance to lead in the activities of this retreat, 40 of our PTM Life and Dance for Fitness students will have an opportunity for an intense weekend of fitness and health, and a few of our parents will get to know PTM’s staff and volunteers better. Our theme is “extreme pursuit” and messages and activities will center on the call to be extraordinary and to live lives of great health. Perhaps this will be the breakthrough for Javontia that so many have been praying for.