6-year Ultimate Peace veteran Dani Glass perfectly encapsulates what it’s like to live through the awesomeness of staff training.
We’ve talked a lot over the past few days of staff orientation about how camp UP began. Something out of nothing, we said. What began as an idea – a far-fetched one at that – has now come into full fruition. What once began as an idea has grown into something far larger than any of us could have imagined: what was once an idea grew into a day long clinic, which grew into a week long camp, which grew into summer and training camps, which grew into year round practices and tournaments. What began as an idea of understanding and friendship has grown into vast amounts of love, community, and even peace.
We may not have achieved peace between places – between countries and regions and governments, but we have achieved something just as important: peace between people. Beautiful friendships have grown out of Ultimate Peace and from those friendships unity has emerged. I normally write in solitude and silence but right now I’m looking around a loud, noisy, overcrowded room full of people planning, making signs, writing, dancing, smiling and laughing as they converse over work and play. Normally I write in quiet solitude but right now there’s nowhere I’d rather be, because there is so much love in the air surrounding me.
To be honest, I’m a little sad that what we have now is ending. I was explaining to one of our first year American CITs that one of my favorite pieces of Ultimate Peace is being a part of the massive collective effort it creates. It wouldn’t happen without the incredible, almost inhuman efforts of the beautiful people surrounding me right at this very moment. Right at this very moment in time, something is happening. I say that not in vague, broad “words-my-English-teacher-would-hate” sentiment, but in order to capture the vastness of what we are doing. We are creating. Inventing. Innovating. Making something where before there was nothing. It’s what I love about writing and thinking and ideas and this crazy thing we call Ultimate Peace.
What once started as a vague idea is now happening right in front of my eyes. As I sit here writing, and as you sit here reading, no matter where you are or when you read it, something is happening with Ultimate Peace. Something is being created. I’m a little sad that this period of intense staff creating is ending, because even though something new and even better is coming, I find something special in being surrounded by this kind of concentrated effort and energy. Ready or not, though, the kids are coming tomorrow. I think we’ll be ready, but are we ever? Can we ever be prepared enough for the mass of energy and activity that is about to hit us like a tidal wave? A beautiful, wonderful, life-changing (for the positive) one, but a tidal wave nonetheless.
Ready or not, I can’t wait to see the full effects of our efforts paying off. The kids are going to arrive, and they’ll be just as psyched as we are, or more. I’m often asked why I do this – why I fundraise all year and fly halfway across the world to work as hard as I can, even though I get sick every year and I need weeks of recovery when I get home. The truth is I can’t stay away. I can’t live without seeing the close friends I’ve made over the years: some of them campers, some coaches, some CITs and some who have shifted from one to the other in my 6 years in the program. The kids are coming tomorrow, and sad as I’ll be to give up my time with my brothers and sisters on the staff, I can’t wait for a new generation to come in tomorrow.