Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Sense a Theme Here

Every ICCC conference has a theme. I suspect most conferences in general have themes. The one from last week was "Christ, Color and Context," and it was appropriate in a way, considering the way at least the youth activities played out. I'm not going to enumerate all the details--it was a positive experience overall, I'd say, but it took a lot of emotional energy, as the demographics of the group were approximately 33% Caucasian kids, 66% African American kids, no discernable other ethnicities, and most of the kids from both these groups did not appear to run in very diverse circles. Speaking from experience, you can have all the non-racist, Christian goodwill in the world, but unless you interact with people who have different backgrounds from you on a regular basis, you're going to step on some toes (and have yours stepped on) fairly often in your initial forays into diversity. Given all this, I think things went pretty well in the end (and I got to see it first hand because a few other youth leaders and I decided it was kind of silly to have only one adult run an entire youth programme for 57 teens . . . which is how the set-up was initially). I'm just saying--the theme was fairly appropos.

Meanwhile, though, within the hotel and independent of the conference (one hopes, though ominous soundtrack music might go well here), there was this other kind of "theme" going on. After the nice old lady made her comment in the elevator about all of us "going to L," a compressor in some fridge in the building overheated and all the alarms in the 24-storey hotel went off at 3 o'clock one fine morning. The number of people who didn't trek down all the flights of stairs to the front of the hotel would have been alarming if the fire or whatever it was hadn't been contained. As it was, everyone's sleep got interrupted and left us all crankier the next day . . . when the same compressor overheated again. Firetrucks went to and from our hotel all week, it seemed, the elevators kept breaking down, and on the last night our floor smelled about to overheat again.

Also, one morning my breakfast purchase total at the hotel Starbucks was $5.91. I didn't feel the need to give a dollar tip, but 50 cents seemed measly, so I wrote 75 cents on the receipt . . . only to discover (because my math-brain is stunted) that that made the dollar amount $6.66. It is no credit to me and my resistance of my superstitious nature that I couldn't bring myself to leave it like that, but I suppose the baristas were happier that I gave them a dollar in the end.

In spite of the lovely room-service breakfast that "my" teens and I had on the last day, courtesy of some generous friends, I don't think it's entirely unreasonable that the girls and I nicknamed our hotel the "Hellton" by the end of the week . . .
Photos: ICCCYouth2009, photo by jennw2ns. Room Service, photo by jennw2ns. The H__ton, photo by jennw2ns

1 comment:

Bonnie Prizio said...

Hi Jenn,

Thanks so much for your help with I said before, I really don't know how it would have all worked out if it had been me solo with all those kids!

And I agree with your observations. Some of this is, in some respects, a bit of "forced" diversity. I only can hope that they caught some of this and will take it home with them.

My daughter was very much moved by being part of this group and even wrote her college essay about her experiences there.