Faithways Academy 2020 Nurtures Faith Virtually
Submitted on July 13, 2020
With an eye towards the safety and health of participants, Faithways Academy went virtual this summer. Faithways provides a rare opportunity for high school students to explore and grow in their faith in an academic setting. While this year’s version was entirely virtual, it didn’t stop connections from being fostered and faith being nurtured.
The work put in by staff of Faithways ensured this year was one of the best ever. “The adjustment was initially challenging because we had never done anything like this before so it was essentially going back to the drawing board a month and a half before it started and recruiting for a program that I was still figuring out,” said Director of Faithways Academy, Hollis Dudgeon. “Fortunately, I had some amazing people that I was able to call on to be a part of this experience and truly make it what it was. Professors, ministers and Georgetown students jumped right in with energy and with courage to try something new and figure it out together.”
Of course, the initial challenge this year was how to foster those connections that make Faithways such a special experience. “Before we started, the staff and myself had a training session on Virtual Embodiment with Dr. Lakisha Lockhart who I had connected with through the Youth Theology Network,” said Dudgeon. “That training really invited us to imagine the possibilities of meaningful ways that we could engage scholars over the virtual platform this year.”
Beyond the staff, the students who participate in Faithways truly make it a special experience for all involved. This year, the students jumped right in to a new kind of Faithways. It was amazing for me to see the way that they embraced the experience wholeheartedly and gave so much of themselves to Virtual Faithways this year. I'm so grateful for their openness, flexibility and engagement with Faithways and with one another,” said Dudgeon.
As always with Faithways Academy, the hardest part of the experience is saying goodbye. With this year’s virtual camp, the end looked a little different than in years past. “The last night of Faithways, we had a talent show for Scholars that one of the Georgetown college students, Kayla Duffie, planned,” said Dudgeon. “I loved that because of the way that different Scholars shared their unique and various talents with one another. I think it was such a testament to the space of Virtual Faithways that we shared in and created together that they felt comfortable enough to do this.”
To learn more about Faithways Academy, visit http://www.georgetowncollege.edu/faithways-academy.