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"Each of us must come to care about everyone else's children. We must recognize that the well being of our own children is intimately linked to the well being of all other people's children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else's child will perform it. When one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else's child will commit it. The good life for our own children can be secured only if it is also secured for all other people's children. But to work for the well being of all children is not just a practical matter-- it is also right!" - Lilian G. Katz, Phd.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Travelogue Days 2,3 & 4

The energy at this conference is absolutely incredible. The connections, the networking and the camaraderie is fabulous. Transforming Systems through Youth and Family Leadership. A system ran for the people, by the people. True American Spirit in action.

It is a diverse crowd. People from all walks of life are here, each with their own story. Color, age, gender — it is irrelevant. We are people bound together to change the world. We desire to nurture our children, nurture families, and yes, even nurture our systems. There is recognition of the humanity in everyone and people treasure one another’s strengths.

Yesterday was unbelievable. Morning started with breakfast, good company and stimulating conversation.

I mailed the boys postcards and letters to let them know I was thinking of them and missing them. After all, in a way they are why I am here.

We went sightseeing after that. Washington is still in fall colors and is breathtaking. I learned a new skill—successfully navigating the Metro. Union Station was fabulous. The architecture was mesmerizing. All of DC is like this. You can feel the weight of history in this city. It is powerful and indescribable.

We walked from Union Station to the Capitol and took the Capitol tour. I did this in lieu of Policy Day at the conference. I do regret missing Policy Day, but I guess visiting the Capitol is my personal version.

I had to hurry back at that point and get a coat. It had been freezing all day. Brrrrr! It has been a long time since I have been that cold. From the hotel, I took the Metro back to Union Station to catch the Amtrak to Baltimore’s Penn Station. The train was a relaxing experience. I brought along a book to read, but spent most of the trip looking at the gorgeous and sometimes depressing scenery. It was about an hour trip with 2 stops- BWI and New Carrolton.

As I rode, I got very excited. I was really looking forward to meeting Michele and family. At Penn Station I walked out just as Michele drove up. I don’t think we stopped talking the entire visit. We went to dinner, took lots of pictures, and had a wonderful time. She has a beautiful home and family. Sara and Alex were a blast!

After the visit, I was exhausted. I read the entire way back and was afraid I would fall asleep on the train. I navigated Union Station, the Metro and found the hotel again safely and successfully. A good thing, considering it was 11PM at night. I was freezing, so I hurried up to the room and tip-toed in so I wouldn’t disturb my roommate. She wasn’t there! At that point, I went back down to the lobby to see if they were in the bar. There I ran into Carl Dennis, Dixie Jordan, Julie Zalimas and eventually Susan Hickcox joined us. Wine and conversation ensured I didn’t get to bed until 2 AM. The stories Carl and Dixie tell are wonderful.

It took me a long time to get up on Friday morning. A hot bath finally got the motivation going but I missed the pre-conference workshop. I met up with Ginny Wood and Jane Kallal for breakfast and was introduced to this dynamic woman from NY, Bernadine. Ginny has taken me under her wing and is introducing me to all the movers and shakers in the children’s movement. I have met old friends and new and networked up the wazoo. Federal directors, heads of agencies—the networking and mentoring I am getting is unbelievable. There was an African dance and drum troupe during the opening and the powerful Lesra Martin spoke.

I have been attending a three part leadership workshop during the breakout sessions. Last night, I took a percoset and laid down at 5 to take a nap and slept through until this morning. I just ditched the luncheon to write this, so now I need to head downstairs and rejoin everyone.