Editor’s Note: We invited our summer student, Cailin Blanchard, to write down her experiences and impressions after almost three months here at the Sentinel. Cailin happily agreed — the charming result follows. But first, a video introduction:
The Superb Stories of a Sentinel Summer Student
by Cailin Blanchard
To think of all of the powerful and hilarious stories that could be told around my experiences this summer, in the Kootenays generally, and at the Sentinel Retreat Centre in particular, is overwhelming — how truly beautiful it has been!
I arrived on the 15th of May, and am departing on the 15th of August, making it exactly three months I’ve spent here. When I first arrived, I knew it was a total and complete gift that I was going to be here for the entire summer, basking in the beauty of incredible Kootenay Lake, the mountains, and the inspiring and talented community that inhabits this area. I’ve learned and experienced so many wonderful things, and can’t wait to see how it all will be brought forward into my life from here on.
There were many tasks I’ve assisted with at the Sentinel — from helping out here and there in the garden, to cooking the special Sentinel signature breakfast almost every day (yes, that includes the revered, “this is not oatmeal” superfood oatmeal!), to learning how to properly make a bed — who knew there were various ways to tuck in a flat sheet in a way that looks nice? Certainly not me! I gathered a lot of knowledge around why organization and cleanliness are important for energetic balance, how to take care of myself in moments of high stress (trust me, this place gets really busy sometimes, despite its peacefulness), how to communicate more clearly, and so many other things, big and small.
The team I’ve worked with has been amazing — there’s so much I’ve come to learn from each one of them. It’s special how much you can discover about yourself, simply from spending quality time around others, who are just going about being who they are. The staff here all have huge hearts, pure generosity ,and fierce intention — each of them has inspired me to live my dreams, and to be strong in trusting myself. They’ve seen me plant seeds that have died, only to grow again — multiple times. It’s empowering to work with a team go people who are ready to be there for you, and hold space. I’m so grateful for that.
Someday I hope to create my own therapeutic practice, and join some form of community where collaborative healing is possible. My time here at the Sentinel afforded me the perfect opportunity to take in some of the logistical aspects of how to run and be a part of a centre like this, as well as the more creative and intuitive qualities that go into making a successful wellness and healing retreat.
Then there’s the nearby village of Kaslo. I have so much gratitude for all I’ve been privileged to experience in that lovely town. There is so much culture there, so many unbelievably talented individuals, so much kindness and genuine connection. Kaslo is also a fun-loving, safe place to be.
I’ve listened to a lot of magnificent music over the past three months, and have done plenty of dancing! it’s safe to say my artistic side has been supremely inspired since my arrival here. Thank you to all the folks that I met who were so welcoming, and for the friends I made that lit up my heart with beauty. Thank you to Kootenay Lake, to the mountains, to the rivers, to the waterfalls, to all the songbirds that woke me with their music every morning, and to the spectacular sky of stars I fell asleep to every night.
Thank you to everything that made it possible for me to come here and experience what I have experienced. I am forever changed. Take care, Kootenays.
I’ll be back!
Editor’s postscript: Cailin provided us with some meaningful photos from her stay with us. Here they are: