By Darian James
As I made my way to the airport to join my coordinators and council members, I began to wonder about what the Urban Retreat would be like. After missing flight number one and being persuaded not to get on flight number two, flight number three was very early (5:26 a.m. to be exact) but quite the charm!
After missing two flights and waking up at 3:00 a.m. to catch the third flight I knew for sure that good luck was in store for me. I arrived at the Washington D.C. airport and was greeted by one of my fabulous coordinators, Cherisse.
Thinking that all of my bad luck was used on yesterday, I was certain that the rest of the trip would be perfect….. not just yet! I knocked on the door to room 711 and a guy answered the door. He welcomed me in and introduced himself. I thought nothing of it at that moment but as I began to think about rooming with a guy as the day went on, I started to feel more and more uncomfortable. So uncomfortable that I mentioned it to my coordinators. As we talked about the situation Emma explained that I was placed in that room by mistake. PHEW….I was relieved! As always, my name gave off the impression that I was a male.
The good luck begins and continues after that moment. The Urban Retreat was phenomenal. I am so appreciative for everything that I encountered prior to arriving at the Urban Retreat because I know that those obstacles were preparing me for my “Fiercely Fabulous Weekend.” The retreat certainly met and exceeded all of my expectations. Advocates from all over the world had the opportunity to share ideas, network, bond, grow, and so much more. At the various training sessions we had the opportunity to openly discuss our opinions and experiences about different topics without harsh stares or offensive comments from the people around us.
I am so thankful for this retreat because it not only allowed me to meet new people and grow as an individual but it assisted S.W.A.R.M. in forming a bond that is unbreakable. We shared so much with each other during those five days that you would have thought we knew each other for over five years. We laughed, walked, talked, took pictures, ate, danced, joked, and even cried together. I love my S.W.A.R.M. family so much and I know that Tim is smiling down on us because he would not have wanted it any other way! We love you Tim and we will continue to make you proud. I can honestly say that Exuberant Emma and Courageous Cherisse are two magnificent individuals. To take time out of their busy schedules, to travel to Washington, D.C. with 9 college students, who they saw face to face once or twice was remarkable. Thanks ladies!
The Urban Retreat has given me a different outlook on life, responsibility, rights, and so much more. My most memorable moments are going to the youth lounge for a refresher, media 101 and 102 with Ms. Rachel Cooke, the fabulous speech delivered by Ms. Sonia Renee, and LOBBYING! Lobbying was a great way to end our awesome retreat. It felt so good to go to our state representatives’ staff to voice our opinions and share our personal stories. We even had the opportunity to go on a few tours thank to our amazing coordinator Emma.
We as young people have the right to comprehensive sex education, deserve respect from everyone around us, and you should place responsibility on us to make wise decision when it pertains to sex and relationships!
Anyone who had anything to do with the Urban Retreat I want to thank you so much for a job well done! #UR2012