Who knew math and church youth group could take me to so many amazing places! Now it has all wrapped up so I thought I would reflect on it.
For math, I was lucky to be able to go to 3 Twitter Math Camps during the summer:
2016 - My 1st in Minneapolis
2017 - In Atlanta
2018 - In Cleveland, Ohio.
I was lucky because I got to be around amazing teachers for a week and just take it all in. I got to meet these people in real life. Go out for great meals. Go for runs. See these amazing cities. I remember at first thinking, Minneapolis...who wants to go there. I fell in love with that city. If you ever get a chance, you should visit. (In summer, of course). Atlanta was so different than I thought as well. It is huge with a lot of trees. For us to travel from out hotel to the Coke museum was a hotel bus, to a city bus, to a train, to then still having to walk a mile. Crazy. We went to the Georgia Aquarium. We have a great one in Boston and I wasn't going to go to this one. Amazing! Again, if you are ever in Atlanta, you should visit the Aquarium. And, then last summer was Cleveland. So many awesome restaurants! Such a cute city. I recommend it as well.
For our church youth group, I just "retired" from volunteering as our youth minister. Eight years ago, our church has a paid youth minister. I helped him out with our youth group and went on my first mission trip to Mississippi. His position was cut and I didn't want to see it end, so I stepped up and volunteered. For eight years I have run (with a lot of help from some great friends) our youth group and mission trip. The kids are awesome and make it all worth it but it is a lot of work and a lot of time. We have a school year calendar full of events from service to prayer to fun events. Our religious ed leader told us we have the best group around our area because she has meetings with other churches.
That first mission trip really was life changing. And, every one after it has been as well. I am so blessed to have been part of it. It has been so fun to have the opportunity to share a week with my students in a different part of the country and expose them to different ways of life. I am sad that it has come to an end, but I am looking forward to slowing things down and having more time.
Each trip was about 60 people. I always had such a fun group of adult leaders as well. So many memories:
2012- Mississippi to clean up after Hurricane Katrina
2013 - New Jersey to clean up after Super Storm Sandy
2014 - Back to Mississippi for still more clean up after Katrina
2015 - Queens, NY for a crazy city experience
2016 - Appalachia, West Virginia - our group of leaders really wanted to get here and we made it happen.
2017 - Adirondacks, NY - we had a nice, quiet week of community work
2018 - Houston, Texas to help after Hurricane Harvey - we took 2 sites. One site held 50 people and we knew that would be too limiting so I took a risk and took both sites for a total of 100 people. This would be our biggest trip and I was a bit nervous about filling all our spots and then dealing with the large number travel wise. I thought like the movie "A Field of Dreams" - If we build it, they will come. They did. We filled all 100 spots. That became our t-shirts - "100 helping Houston".
2019 - My last trip - Philadelphia. This was definitely memorable. We had 9 graduated seniors who joined us for all 4 mission trips during their high school career! It was a crazy trip. With all my planning, many things happened outside my control, but we pulled together and it bonded us. For a lot of kids this was their favorite trip.
With all this traveling for math and youth group, now I hope to get to travel some with my husband.