When we went to camp, they had these giant pieces of wood attached to a wire. They wanted us to climb on them with a partner. I had just gotten to know my friend Bailey and we decided to go up there together. Me being very afraid of heights i was immediately scared, But I decided to try it anyway. It was terrifying. Once I got up there I started crying because that had been the tallest height I had ever been in my life. They pulled me down and Pam immediately hugged me and started saying, “its ok,” and “you are safe.” All of my new friends came instantly and started saying other words of encouragement. I never thought that these 30 people i had just met the day before would be so kind and caring to someone they had just met. At that moment I did not remember the fear I had just felt but rather the love I felt. The next day they had a wall that we all as a group had to get up without ladders or ropes we had to trust that they would catch us if something were to happen. Well I was not scared this time I felt safe and I trusted that if I fell they would catch me. I got over the wall with ease and it was fun.
That is what YLA is to me…it’s a place where 36 juniors from Madison County can meet each other and become a family. I never would have met these people if I had not been in YLA. I would never have made the connections that will last a lifetime.
Pam and Beth have taught us many things that I will always carry. One day Pam asked us a series of random questions and asked what we would do if we were in these situations. We all were so confused as to why she was asking these questions. But she told us that maybe you have not encountered these situations but you might. You need to be prepared and know what you are going to do in that situation, because if you do not know then a wrong decision may haunt you for the rest of your life. She was right. There are so many things that happen in our day to day lives that may affect us years from now.
YLA has taught me many lessons that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. I will continue to implement these lessons into college and my career thereafter. If I could wrap up what YLA means to me in 3 words, it would be family, love, and leadership.
Ronise, that about sums it up: FAMILY, LOVE, LEADERSHIP. You are a shining example of all that our future holds!
Grow. Serve. Lead.