I began attending Youth Conference 34 years ago in 1979. Back then, the conference bumped Labor Day weekend so that yesterday would have been the last day. I still think of this as when the conference should end.
Now, though, conference is “early.” It actually ended two weeks ago today. We held our Graduation service, a barbecue and the traditional closing circle on Saturday, August 18.
This was my last Graduation Service as Academic Dean of the Conference, so this coming year will be a different one for me. For the first time in nearly two decades, I will not be part of the Planning Committee. I also know that I will most probably not be at conference next August.
I am definitely feeling a sense of loss in all this. I have been at 30 conferences in the 34 years since I started. I’m not worried – the conference is in good hands—but I am sad that I will not be a part of it. I think of all the first and second year students who I worked this year and last year – I’ll be missing out on watching their growth. But whatever year I moved on, that would be the case. There are always more special kids, more deep connections.
Graduation was emotional at points. The Third Year class was amazing – they brought energy to the service, they showed that they had really bonded, and they seemed to have fun. I nearly lost it when, after it was announced that I my term was up, they sang to me and then to the Dean who was also moving on. (Actually, everyone sang to us, but they started it.) That’s something I will carry with me into the next year. I feel like I made a difference to someone.
Hopefully, I’ll be back to CYC sometime soon. For now, I remember…
When have you moved on from something that was important? How have you worked through the emotions?