By Gabrielle Cory
(written after conference 2016)
This past week I have been in Michigan at the National Leadership Conference. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a life changing leadership conference located at Camp Miniwanca in Shelby, Michigan every year. NLC inspires participants to be their own selves, their best selves, all the time. This week I was pushed out of my comfort zone, pushed my personal boundaries further than I ever imagined I could and overcame challenges with some of my closest friends by my side, friends that I have only been physically with for 2 weeks in the past two years.
I want to thank all of those who were around me from my fellow Tikas, to my mentors, to the NLC Staff, to my quest group. You all were supporting me to be my best self, inspiring me to create the change that I want to see in the world, to be an up-stander not a bystander, and to consume myself in divine discontent and blessed unrest, phrases that can only be understood by those who feel the Miniwanca Magic.
I earned my scarf this past week. On the back it reads my class name, Ohítika Ikíya, in my class colors of midnight blue and orange. My class name means Dare to Stand Courageously. If you are still reading this post, my dare to you is to go and seek out your best self, to find the fire within you that needs to be shared with others and encourage them to do the same. I dare you to be an ambassador of warmth, positivity, faith, and leadership in this world that isn’t always the nicest or safest place.
And lastly, I dare you to stand courageously, for your beliefs, for your dreams and for what you want to achieve in life. Some people may be wondering what’s so special about this place that I’ve spent a week at for the past two summers, and I could tell them about the beautiful camp, and the sand dunes and sunsets, but that doesn’t mean a thing without the amazing people that make the Miniwanca Magic real. There is no question I will continue to call this place home for a week in the summer for the next two years minimum as I finish a four year camp and then hopefully venture on as staff. I’m gonna miss this place for the next 51 weeks, but I know I am needed in the world to share my light and the fire within me with others, inspire change, and stand courageously, daring others to do the same. As I heard at camp this week, “ships are safe in the harbor, but that’s not what they’re meant for.” I am now sailing out of the harbor and into sea, maybe see you on the ride and catch you on the flip side Miniwanca.