Last month, Sons of Pericles embarked on their inaugural “Rising Sons” Conference at the Diakonia Retreat Center in Salem, South Carolina.
The conference included opportunities for development, service projects and exploration of themes related to growing up as Greek American youth.
Coordinating with the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta, the Sons of Pericles traveled to the Diakonia Retreat Center, also known as the “DRC.” The center provides Greek Orthodox youth with a haven removed from the secular world — for one week at a time every summer. It gives them a space and time to engage with friends, play sports, do arts and crafts and participate in team-building exercises.
But in April 2019, the center sustained damages from a tornado.
The tornado destroyed a section of forest with a ropes course, filled with structures and obstacles designed to promote teamwork, communication and faith-based lessons for participants.
Various buildings, structures and pathways also sustained damage from the strong winds and flying debris.
The Sons Service Weekend, dedicated to restoring and improving the grounds, brought in attendees from Chicago, Seattle, Calgary, Toronto, New York, Clearwater, Tampa and Atlanta.
They restored parts of the dock; rebuilt and improved the fire pit; laced new structures to hold canoes; put tarps in cabins to reduce humidity and searched the grounds for trash, potential hazards and out of place items.
Attendees also participated in meetings including committee reports and updates on Sons of Pericles districts.
The Sons of Pericles announced the “Rising Sons” program during their meeting at the Order of AHEPA’s 97th annual Supreme Convention in July 2019. The initiative aims to prepare young Sons of Pericles members to lead within the organization. It also helps them to develop professional and life skills.
Based on their interests, academic focus and career path, the chosen “sons” become part of committees led by the Sons of Pericles National Lodge.
Thrilled with the success and productivity of the inaugural weekend, the Sons of Pericles Supreme Lodge said that they will continue such conferences. The lodge’s leadership said it encourages others to notify Sons of Pericles members of other youth centers and facilities that need similar maintenance.
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