Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wayne, America

I spent this past weekend in Wayne, America.  To the 65-and-over population, it offers many locations where one can sit and enjoy an early morning or mid-afternoon cup of coffee.  To college students or local teenagers, it's probably a place with which you are bored and a place that you are anxious to leave.  To us, however, Wayne, America, is sacred.

It's the current location for the Nebraska Association of Student Councils Summer Leadership Workshops.  It's where many of us have come, year after year, to either learn about leadership skills or to impart our knowledge upon the youth of Nebraska.  This past weekend, which we lovingly refer to as "Waynestock" was our get-everything-ready-weekend.

Our workshops take place at Wayne State College every summer.  For five days - usually the last full week in July - Wayne, America, becomes a place of escape.  For students, it is a short escape from parents, siblings, chores, and summer jobs.  For staffers, it is an escape from the doldrums of everyday work and life.  We love it there.

Every summer in Wayne, America, magical things happen to both the students and staff who experience NASC's Summer Leadership Workshops.  It's not uncommon for students to leave making comments like, "I don't want to leave here," or "this has been the best week of my life."  Several years ago, those were the same words that I spoke after my experience at Workshop.  Students who attend learn so much more than leadership skills like organization, communication, decision making, group dynamics, interpersonal relations, self-management, and values awareness.  They learn about themselves.  They learn about others - others who are similar to them and others are different than them.  They learn tolerance and acceptance.  While this may sound extreme, this workshop changes lives... I know that it changed mine.

It indirectly gave me a best friend and roommate...

And has given me many, many, other lasting friendships...

And you just never know... you might even find your future spouse at Workshop:

Believe it or not, this has happened on more than just the above two occasions.

Every year at this time, I am reminded to count my blessings for the opportunities that I had to attend this Workshop when I was a student.  Furthermore, I am so very grateful to now be serving the organization as one of its volunteer staff members.  I am always exhausted after "Waynestock," but it also leaves me feeling energized and excited for that last week in July, which will be here before we know it.  And I can hardly wait!

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