October 18, 2016

The 2016 ECS Coalition Retreat was a memorable one. With staff and coalition members from 25 different organizations coming from 15 states, this year’s retreat was the first time in the six years ECS has hosted the retreat to reach capacity!


The retreat informally began on Wednesday Night with a meet and greet at Penn Six, a local bar/restaurant, where those in attendance had an opportunity to meet other attendees and unwind after a day of traveling. The retreat got fully under way the next morning with group introductions and one of the most acclaimed sessions of the retreat, “Beyond Substance Abuse: One Coalition’s Key to Sustainability,” presented by Amy Macecko and Sharon Klein from Coalition for Healthy Communities in Oxford, OH. As the day progressed participants learned about the new ECS Member Portal (which will be fully rolled out over the next few weeks to those not in attendance), the difference between cultural sensitivity and cultural humility, and wrapped up the day learning how to engage evaluation committees.

[pullquote align=”left”]“This retreat was a great opportunity to get together and network with other coalitions and get ideas to take back to the community.”[/pullquote]
The second day of the retreat started off with another great session, this time discussing marijuana legalization and policy work related to it from the perspective of two different coalitions. Holly Zweizig from Union County, OH, shared her experience regarding the development and process of state legislation legalizing medical marijuana in Ohio. Following Holly’s presentation Kelly Miloski and Felicia Scocozza of Riverhead CAP Coalition in New York shared the challenges and politics they faced when they found out a medical marijuana dispensary was coming to their community.  As the retreat slowly came to an end attendees heard about engaging youth in policy change, action oriented meetings, and one organization’s understanding of how substance abuse prevention and recovery are related to how they approach both with their Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success (CARES) Program.
Many of the participants had glowing reviews of the retreat noting that…“This retreat was a great opportunity to get together and network with other coalitions and get ideas to take back to the community.”  while others noted, “….I believe this retreat is one of the most beneficial opportunities that I have to learn throughout the course of the year!”
We are looking forward to our 2017 retreat which is slated to be held September 21st and 22nd in St. Louis, MO!  Be on the lookout for more details this spring as we announce sessions, presenters, and the opening of registration. To better help our coalition plan for the retreat we decided to start announcing retreat locations two years out, meaning we will be announcing the location of the 2018 retreat by the end of the calendar year!
If you would like to be part of the planning process or would like to present please contact Nick Dominique (nick@epiphanycommunityservices.com). You can always get the most up to date information and see what we have offered in past years by going to http://epiphanycommunityservices.com/retreat/.
Thank you to all who attended the 2016 retreat and we are excited to get planning to see what our time in St. Louis will bring!