The Power Shift Conference of 2009 was a total success!!!
Over 1,500 Youth showed up to Washington DC from places all over the country! I met people from Portland, Oregon, Southern California, Florida, Texas, even Puerto Rico!!!!, and many other places!
Our group left campus at 1am Saturday morning and arrived in DC by car around 7am (our car stopped about once every hour for bathroom breaks haha) and we checked in to the conference. I was already completely sleep deprived, because, due to the attack outside my room that Thursday night/Friday morning, I had only got 4 hours of sleep that night, and then I think I slept about an hour on the car ride down to DC, so I was only running on about 5 hours of sleep since I had gotten up at 7am Thursday morning for classes...
Saturday, we spent the day going to different "classes" and learning about different things, such as how to "lead the green movement in your school," and learning about different things that other schools across the nation are doing. I was very proud of myself for the networking I did that day, because I got to meet so many cool people and I fed off of each others' enthusiasm for being there!
Saturday night was a little hard for me, because that is when I learned about Aunt Mary's death, but my new friends in my group from school pulled together and made me feel much better! They were totally awesome. With some persuasion, they got me to go out with them that night to a concert that was being sponsored by the Conference. The band was The Roots, a band that I had never heard of before, and something I probably wouldn't listen to on my own, but they were really awesome! And the music took my mind off of things.
Sunday morning and early afternoon, there were more programs to go to at the convention center, but I decided to take some time to myself and think, so I took the Metro (subway) over to the Monuments and spent a few hours wandering around, thinking, and taking in the scenery and the history. It was a lot of fun.
I returned back to the convention center in the late afternoon for some required programs that would help us prepare for Lobbying the following day.
Sunday night, I took the Metro over to American University, where one of my best friends from high school goes and spent a few hours visiting her... that made me very happy! I got back on the Metro, planning to get back to the station closest to my hotel at 11:55, because the shuttle from the hotel stops running at 12, so I was just going to make it!
However, when I got back to the station, the snow storm had begun!! And when I called the hotel, the man at the desk said the shuttle wasn't going to be running anymore! yikes!!!
So I figured I would call a taxi, take some money out of an ATM and get back to the hotel that way.... there wasn't an ATM at the station....
haha So now, I was a little panicked, but I called one of my friends in our group, who was already back at the hotel, and she told me she'd be over in about 20 minutes to pick me up! Lauren saved the night!!!!
While I was stranded at the Metro Station, awaiting rescue, I met three other people from the conference (and who were staying in our hotel), from PORTLAND OREGON!!!, and Lauren gave them a ride back to the hotel with us, because the taxi company said it would be over an hour before a taxi got to them!!!
Monday morning, we panicked, and payed for another night at the hotel, thinking the storm was going to be HORRIBLE! Then, we barred the weather and headed out to the Metro Station. From there, we took the Metro to the Capital and met with other people who would be lobbying our Congressman for the New Paltz area.
The experience was totally amazing! And it felt really cool to be talking to someone so important in politics! As we were getting ready to leave the building, a man came out of an office and asked us if we were there to speak with Congressman Conyers from Chicago!
We said we weren't, but we could! Apparently, the group from Chicago never showed up for their meeting with him! So, we filled in! It was totally awesome and Congressman Conyers was WAY cool! The first thing he said to us when we walked into his office was, "Who here has ever heard of John Coltrane?" And for the entire meeting, he had jazz music playing in the background. We learned that Congressman Conyers has been in Congress since 1964 and is the oldest man in Congress today.
After our lobbying was done, three of my new friends and I grabbed some lunch, then headed over to the Botanical Gardens for an hour before it closed... that was really nice and relaxing after such an eventful weekend! Then, we headed back to the hotel and I fell asleep for a few hours... that night, we had an informal meeting with our group to discuss the weekend and what we wanted to do with all of the new information and experiences we had gained over the weekend. The meeting lasted well into the night and the next morning, we headed out to get back to New Paltz.
We got back to New Paltz around 5:30 pm and I repacked, grabbed some dinner with my friends, then got on a bus at 9:30pm to go home for Aunt Mary's funeral service the next morning.
Overall, it was an amazing weekend, and I'm very glad I had the opportunity to go!!! It was an AWESOME birthday present from Moma and Pops!!! Thank you!!!!
*Pictures of the weekend will be up soon*