Welcome to Katie's Travel Blog. This is really Jenny-doesn't-get-to-travel blog where I (mom) keep track of Katie's adventures so I can have some vicarious enjoyment! Here's a look at what one globally-aware kid from little Santa Cruz, California gets to do these days if her mom's willing to keep working!

Monday, November 19, 2012

PTPI Global Youth Forum 2012 What Did You Do With My Kid?

Flightaware.com. Excellent.

Katie left here early Wednesday morning, still exhausted and exhilarated from watching her candidate win the presidential election. She came back five days later a changed person. Smiling like an idiot. Goofy over the amazing time she had in Chicago and telling me she was going back next year - to Washington DC - so start planning on it.

I couldn't find Katie in any photos, so Liz made sure I did!
In less than a week, my introvert who has "friend" (that's the joke, Katie has just the one friend at school) came home thrilled she had finally found her people. She LOVED everybody there - the girls, the boys, the young ones (she was one) and the old ones (Juniors and Seniors in high school). Together they had looked at the big problems facing the world and together they struggled to come up with ideas for action, for change.

The theme was Serve the World, Save the World and while I have always been an altruist, Katie's had a much more pragmatic approach to giving. She doesn't really want to help unless she could do something that was directly impactful. I've had a much lower threshold for jumping in and saving something. Katie can actually say "no." (This is a desirable trait and coveted by women so I have nurtured her ability to do just that. I figure life will eventually wear her down over time.)

At the conference, there were two missions: work on a problem - her team had Romania - and come up with a solution for solving the problem. The task was broken down into steps and was peppered with inspirational speakers who offered proof that young people really can create change.

Here's the project on Romania.

The Bean has been sited!
Mission two: do a service project with Chicago Cares.

Katie worked in a food kitchen and a clothes pantry helping organize, serve and sort. According to her, it was outstanding. She learned about who they served (many old people who are now on Social Security and don't have enough money for food after paying for medication, then electricity and heat - apparently food is number four on the list), and children. That data touched her heart and brain.

After volunteering they had a scavenger hunt in Chicago (The BEAN!) and ran around like idiots taking in the sites and learning about the city. Of course she wants to go back there too - this trip didn't involve shopping; one of the few crimes Al Capone did not commit in that town.

[Sidebar: I swear the best shopping I have EVER done I did in Chicago. The buyers there are amazing and on the West Coast, we only get stupid clothes that don't cater to the seasons or women with curves. But I digress.] The conference ended with a smashing good time: a dinner and dance with plenty of silliness and photo-taking.

Since the kids have been home, they have been connecting on Facebook like wildfire. They have a private page just for the group so they can talk with one another. They are missing each other like crazy. Katie's still waking up every morning saying, "I just want to go back. I found my people, mom, I found my people." She keeps drifting back through the photos from the event (they are public).

Katie and The Bean.
People to People already hooked me on the international travel; but I have to say, this leadership conference was outstanding. Within a day, Katie was looking for opportunities to volunteer here at home and since she liked serving the hungry, she chose an opportunity at Loaves and Fishes in Watsonville. She started just three days after getting home. GYF made quite an impression.

So, I better keep working. I figured she has four more years of GYF before she graduates. I can only imagine how she'll grow in the years to come!

At the dance.
After the dance.
Katie and Chelsea at Loaves and Fishes.

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