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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    Perspectives: Retreat Reflections

    Retreat Reflections: The Women’s Chocolate Getaway at Casowasco Camp & Retreat Center

    October 23, 2018 / By Karin Cockram

    “Welcome Home.” That is the greeting that a person receives as he or she arrives at Casowasco, and it is a perfect welcome for this camp and retreat center. Although I have had a wide variety of experiences there, I was asked specifically to write about the Women’s Chocolate Getaway Retreat which is held at the site, annually, the first weekend of March.

    The Women’s Chocolate Getaway weekend is an amazing blend of spiritual immersion, creative exploration, and, of course, chocolate! While there is always a plethora of activities to enjoy, no one is required to do anything. If a person just wants a weekend in a beautiful setting with no obligations other than to sit by the fire and read, that’s one possible option. But the leaders of this retreat also provide craft activities to explore and a lot of enlightening, connecting conversation opportunities.

    The spiritual director for the weekend leads studies that are thought-provoking and relevant to the lives of women of all ages. The staff at the camp is warm, welcoming, responsive, and accepts those “retreating” as honored and dear guests. And the chocolate is delicious!  Dipping or molding, making the “surprise, special treat,” tasting… it’s all part of the sensational experience.

    Casowasco, itself, provides a wide variety of opportunities for personal reflection and retreat, too. While many people choose to stay snuggled inside the luxurious and stately Galilee, there are also opportunities to sit by the lake to meditate, walk any number of paths to enjoy the stillness of winter at the camp, and, if there’s snow, cross-country ski along the railroad bed (bring your own skis). Last year, snowmen even appeared between Galilee and Emmaus (the dining hall). There are flat hikes for those wanting to relax, or more challenging ones for those needing some exercise; climbing to Mt. Tabor can raise most people’s heart rates! Indoors, the rooms are comfortable and newly decorated this year. There are some private rooms or people may share with 1, 2, or 3 other people.  

    This retreat is about to celebrate its 11th year, and I cannot recommend the experience strongly enough. If someone is looking for beauty, connection, peace, challenges, relaxation, delight, or rest, this is a perfect weekend in a perfect setting.

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    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."