Kiel grad hits road with NET Team
Retreats involve constant travel
By Linda DeVries
Like many of her friends, 18-year-old Danielle Meyer is packing,
getting ready to leave home. But instead of going to college or
starting a job, this recent graduate of Kiel High School will
spend the next year with the Catholic National Evangelization
"We'll be leading retreats at parishes throughout the United
States, doing skits and prayers," said Danielle, a member of Ss.
Peter and Paul Parish in Kiel. "We start off with five weeks of
training in St. Paul, then we'll be divided up into eight teams
of 14 people each and assigned a region to cover. Each region has
six to eight states, so we will do lots of traveling ... and it's
all driving, no flying."
Each year, 100 18-30-year-olds, from across the country take part
in NET. They lead retreats in parishes, primarily for high school
students, for a night, a weekend, or as long as a week. Team
members stay in homes, rectories, or church halls of host
Those who know Danielle aren't surprised by her plans.
"She's always been outgoing," said her mother, Mary Jo Meyer,
"and she's the type of person who can move from place to place
and meet people. She'll be good at that. We've hosted NET teams
over the years, and Danielle has gone to a couple of their
Danielle first considered joining NET a year ago when a visiting
team asked if anyone would like to do what they were doing. She
applied and later attended an "interview weekend" at the NET
headquarters on St. Paul.
"About three weeks later, I got my acceptance letter," she said.
"I'm looking forward to traveling and meeting new people, both on
the team and in the churches we go to.
Danielle's father, Richard, sees it as an exciting opportunity.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Danielle has never really been
away from home for a long period of time, so this will be a
different experience for her. She'll be home for a couple weeks
at Christmas, but otherwise she'll be traveling. She had to raise
over $3,000 to participate in this, so she appealed to our
parish, and they're supporting her."
Fr. Loren Nys, SDS, pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul, said, "Danielle
is the first one from our parish to do this. It's so wonderful to
see our young people taking positions of leadership. It gives me
a great deal of hope for the church. "
Perhaps Danielle's willingness to give a year in service to
others reflects the way she was raised. Fr. Nys said her family
is dedicated to their faith and is very involved in the church.
Her mother is the religious education coordinator for high school
students in the parish.
While Mary Jo hopes her daughter will someday continue her
education, she sees this as important. "Danielle talks about
going into special education, and she's always looking for people
to help. She has a faith that runs deep, and my dreams are for
her to dig down and find God as the only source for her life. I'm
looking forward to getting notes from her as she travels. Others
who've done it say it's both the best and the most difficult year
of their lives, but there are so many rewards!"