PAC..AA 43 was phenomenal. It was a bit of an adjustment, and I could write for days about what we did this week. However, I'm still in the "processing" stage, whereby most of us go home, try to catch up on sleep, think about all of the things we barely had the time or energy to think about while we were at PAC..AA, and attempting to catch up on all of the emails, calls, and anything else that we missed. As a leader (before I made staff in 04), it was always so hard for me to go home after PA..CAA because, well I wasn't there anymore and it was my favorite place in the universe, and also because all of the sudden, I was just shoved back into the real world. In PAC..AA world, we can 100% be ourselves. We can have a good cry about something and then forget about it ten minutes later, because we are laughing so hard at something else. Boys can be sensitive, color lines are erased, and people cheer just as loudly for each person in the talent show. We can believe in our abilities. Someone who may think they are different from everyone else may come to the realization by the end of the week that we are truly all the same inside.
Now, as a staff member, it's my job to provide that experience to all of the leaders who come through our program. Leaders completely changed my life many years ago, and I feel as though I owe it to the program to return each year and do for these teens what many staff members did for me when I was a leader. It's exhausting, stressful, and very hard... but it's probably the most worthwhile thing that I do with my life right now. It's the most rewarding experience I've ever had.
The photo that I posted is my Values Group. These groups are made up of about 8-12 leaders who are all the same age. Mine had 3 staff members and 8 leaders. We meet once or twice a day during the week and do activities and have discussions based around issues that they might be dealing with at their age. My group was made up of 16 and 17 year olds who were going into 11th grade. It was fun because by now, they teens are old enough to talk about things like peer pressure, relationships, and substances... they're also old enough now that they may have been to a few PAC..AA's, so they are ready to get right down with discussions and not hold back. I absolutely loved my Values Group this year, these kids were so into it, and so open and honest. I was blown away by some of our conversations, and what they were willing to share. I'm so proud of them, and I honestly do miss seeing them every day!
I'm saving a post about Erin Lanyards until I get some photos- because I was too busy that night to take any! Thankfully, things like facebook make it easy for me to get photos from anything at PAC..AA!
I'm exhausted, and we're going to the beach tomorrow so I should really get some more sleep. I have lots more to say, but it's going to have to wait!!