Upon arriving in Lansing we were greeted at the hotel door with a group of youth already cheering and welcoming us to the event. Immediately I was pretty overwhelmed because there were excited youth EVERYWHERE giving hi fives and hugs..... singing etc. My priority was to get my youth organized in the middle of the enthusiasm and figure out where in the world I was supposed to go to register our group. Going up the escalator I was quickly able to figure this out, but ran into a whole new wave of anxieties. There was a special room for registration for only ONE adult per group to sign in. "Well guess that's me" I thought to myself and entered realizing I was the youngest person in the room by at least 5 years. Super. Not only do I not exactly know what I'm doing it's pretty obvious that I'm young and not familiar with how this all works and feeling insecure about it. Being directed in the right direction I was asked to turn in all our forms.
Now... paperwork is not exactly my strength, BUT I did know I had all the forms... they just weren't organized. So, as I'm frantically trying to organize the BA-JILLION forms they make you and every youth sign, the line behind me is building up with people who have all their forms organized and the poor guy at the desk is like.. I don't know where any of this goes. Luckily, I was able to figure it out and move on to the next station. WHEW.
It was at about this point where I was like "OK Amanda if you are going to make it through this experience you need to get over your insecurity about never doing this before and being one of the youngest adult leaders here." Sure there were other people my age chaperoning, but they were under the guidance of someone older. A slight moment of bitterness swept across me as I thought "how could my church throw me into this without the support of someone guiding me through this, don't they realizes how other churches do this!?! I mean yes I have Ryan here to help me, but it's his first time chaperoning too." Catching myself having these silly negative thoughts that were not helping my situation, I redirected my focus. My church sent me with Ryan (a senior in college) because they knew we could handle it, even though we are young, and if anything terribly bad does happen they are only two hours away.
|My hand with the yellow adult identification wrist band plus the cat one of my youth drew on my hand.|
Then, it dawned on me, this is a unique opportunity for me to do something most people my age would not even consider doing more or less have the opportunity to do if they wanted to. Realizing this, my otherwise perceived stress of being young and inexperienced dissolved and suddenly I become empowered. Yes, I am young and yes I do not know exactly what's going to happen (I didn't even have an itinerary at this point), but this is an opportunity of a life time so I better make the most of it. And that is exactly what I did.
Shortly after registration, I was able to talk to some of the youth pastors I met at Michi-lu-ca earlier in the year. Even though they are all super busy involved in planning and organizing the whole event (and doing a lot of the behind the scene stuff) they helped me catch my bearings simply by having their presence there.
I would have never dreamed a year ago that I would be doing what I am doing now or finding it so empowering. Now that I know I can do this, it makes me wonder what else I am capable of doing. It's exciting. It's fun. It's empowering.
Even though I'm a chaperone I can still join in on the glitter fun!!!