Saturday I had my first meeting with the members of the YME team. We had a beach party out in the sun that eventually turned to rain. But this optimistic group of youth were not perturbed by the sudden change in weather. Since they were already wet, they simply raced into the water to swim in the rain. Luckily for us the other beach goers were not so keen on being doubly wet and left the beach deserted for us to enjoy to its full extent.
I had a wonderful time getting to know the students and learning more about their various interests. Some are into anime, others into aviation and yet they all share the common passion for the ocean. They have all come together as stewards for the ocean upon which their island community depends. These young people are taking on the responsibility that many adults from the island have neglected for much too long. They are setting a wonderful example for generations to come. I find that it is very encouraging to see such a passionate and dedicated group of youth rising up and making changes in their community.
The students warmly welcomed me by introducing themselves, reciting their YME pledge, and making me an official YME member by initiating me with the "Go Bananas" dance. To top it all off they collectively picked me up and threw me into the water to let me know that I was officially part of the team. It was a memorable experience and I look forward to working more closely with these students in the next 5 weeks!