I chose today for our virtual reunion because October 27 marks the 35th anniversary of the independence of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This country brought us together, so it only seems appropriate to celebrate on this special day. Our experience with the Model OAS was life-changing. There is no experience that I've had, either before or since, that matched the intensity of that trip. I've never learned as much in a single week or connected so deeply with anyone else in such a short amount of time. I am truly grateful for the experience.
Before beginning the reunion, I want to thank the adults who made it all possible. Our parents, of course, were incredibly supportive. They brought us to meetings all over the state, gave up their phones for our frequent conference calls, and sympathized each time another 20-pound package of study materials arrived. Our local leaders supported us every step of the way. Generous donors made our travel possible. Our chaperone, Carol, gave 100% to the team and was simply incredible. But none of this would have been possible without one woman. Luella Zamzow hand-picked our team, trained us, and made us a success. She was a force. Luella passed away several years ago, which was a great loss to all who knew her. It's not an exaggeration to say that in my 42 years no person outside my family has had a greater influence on me than Luella did. She is dearly missed.
Now on to the reunion! Please rise for the National Anthem of St. Vincent and the Grenadines!
Every great reunion has favors. The beauty of having a Virtual Reunion is that there are no pesky budgetary limitations! So, please accept these virtual gifts from me.
Cufflinks for the men...
Earrings and lockets for the women...
... and flip flops for everyone!
We'll be dining on some Vincentian favorites, including:
All the while, we'll share our favorite memories from the trip. We'll reflect on where life has taken us and what role 4-H and this trip has had in our adventures and journeys. Mostly, we'll laugh and remember the amazing times we had together, 25 years ago.