A team brings more than just support during an activity, they bring safety, comfort, and hope. My team, a group of All-Stars, called ourselves the DREAM team. From my experience with youth, I’ve found it difficult to find a place to belong in their groups. I was invited to be an all-star at the DREAM conference in Monmouth, OR. The conference was held to help youth learn about college resources, enrollment, and prep/transition. Different workshops were provided in areas such as financial assistance, budgeting, college prep, how to make your college experience better, and resilience. Activities for the conference were basketball, kickball, swimming, art projects, and some hang out time.
My team had a mission to get the youth involved. My teammates did an excellent job engaging and making activities fun. I personally found myself going to groups of people who weren’t as vocal or involved. I wanted to hear what those individuals had to say. Even for the moment that I disassociated myself with my team, I found I still felt motivated to help youth who needed someone. I had to move past my own barriers in order to interact. I found I did experience the most growth when I did that. I was able to interact with youth that maybe I wouldn’t have tried to interact with before my training in FosterClub. I felt the need to interact not because we were encouraged, but because I wanted to.
At the conference, FosterClub also hosted a booth at the DREAM career fair. The booth was used to spread the word of FosterClub and the resources available for youth. I found it reassuring when our other teammates, who did not attend the conference, arrived to manage the booth. I felt a sense of empowerment when I saw them being engaged and successful with youth. They were helpful and strong individuals and I couldn’t help but be impressed by them. To see my teammates being true all-stars, did encourage me to try harder. I sat with different groups during dinner, trying to keep conversation just to let them be heard. I found some of the quietest people to be the most chatty.
Debriefs made camp so much easier and enjoyable. My team was supportive and more than willing to give advice on navigating situations I had minimal experience with. I valued learning about each individual’s struggles throughout the day, the ways that they were overcoming something as well as the opportunity to give input on certain aspects of the day. In the moment, things just felt right.