Saturday, July 24, 2010

"I come home with hope"

Have you ever seen Hope?

And I don't mean a girl that used to live in my neighborhood and attend our church congregation?

These, my friends, are the faces of Hope.

I know that I have traveled far and wide for my volunteer work.  China, Scandanavia, Britian and last month, Canada.  When people ask about the Rotary travel and schedule, they don't ever ask about the most important piece....

The participants.

At the International RYLA, we had 150 people come from around the world to be together for five days.  They come because they believe they will meet great folks and learn great things.   They are right.  They do and did.  One woman saved for two years to come and volunteer to serve for free as a counselor.  She paid to be there.  Most of us do.  I do.  Actually, Mr. Fun pays since he is the one with the paying gig in our family.  Over 30 countries were represented there this year.  I helped direct this experience for them.  And it is an honor.

Five days after I got home from Canada, I took off to the excotic land of Fulton Missouri, home of parts of the Berlin Wall.  :)

This is what Hope looks like here in the great state of Missouri.

This was my 12th RYLA event.  My 19th residential camp (for lack of a better word) since I was 17.  I would say I have leadership camp in my blood.

Apparently, I am not the only one.

We have a Rotarian counselor here in Missouri who serves each year.  He serves for strings attached.  He takes time off from work to do it.  While there are others who do and serve as equally valiantly, there is something that Nelson said that I will always remember.  He was able to verbalize the why I go and do all this free effort.

"I come to RYLA because when I see these young people, I come home with hope." 

Well said, Nelson   Well said.