More Than I Bargained For

I’ve spent the last four days with very little sleep and jammed packed schedules but I wouldn’t change it for the world! The Oregon Teen Conference (OTC) was phenomenal. Before leaving for Seaside, OR and becoming an All-Star I had no idea how much of an impact conferences would have on my life and how much I would impact others. As I reflect on the conference I can honestly say I am living out a dream.

When asked, “What do you want to do with your life?” my reply is an inspiration. As an All-star I am given that opportunity. The feeling is indescribable. This past week I met so many strong, ambitious, and talented youth were able to take what I had to share as motivation for their dreams. It really touched my heart and made an impact in my life. There is no way I could cover them all but I would like to take a bit to point out some of the highlights from this week! Starting with my tribe YELLOW, YELLOW—YOU KNOW!

From day 1-4 you guys were my rock. Despite how tired I might have been feeling when I was with them it didn’t even matter. Their energy and spunk allowed me to put everything aside! I loved that about them!! The Solar Flares lit up my life at OTC! (If you guys read this I wanted to make sure you guys were in the know!) During my Youth Speak session I had the honor to work with an outstanding group and discuss the topic of interpersonal connections and permanency.

A topic that many of you know hits really close to home for me. After spending the week with the group and hearing all they had to share I felt such a connection with each and everyone one of them. Their stories were so powerful and impacting. I have so much admiration toward them for their insight and courage to share. It was awesome to finally be able to relate to people on such an emotional topic for foster youth. All in all I have to say the experience of the first conference was extremely humbling for me.

My life has been forever touched. I cannot stress how blessed I am to be an All-Star this summer. Any doubt I could have about this was shattered when a youth approached me at the end of the conference and gave me a stuffed monkey and said “thank You for everything this week”. It took everything I had not to start crying in that exact moment. You know how they say it’s not the gift that matters; it’s the thought behind it. Well, this gift to me meant more than any gift I have ever been given for that exact reason.

It is something that I will hold onto forever. That monkey symbolizes the fact that I was able to make a difference in someone else’s life and that to me is priceless. I want to give a shout out to those of you who attended the OTC! From workshops (Get Ed. & Get a Financial Life), meal time, activities, and dancing you guys continued to dazzle! You guys make being an All-Star 100 times better. I’m not sure if you guys realize that so I wanted to make sure I had the chance to share. Well, I think this about sums things up! Counting down the days until the next conference! Cheers!