(I apologize for the delay in posting the narrative of our final day…this should have been posted on Saturday August 1st.)
Yesterday was bittersweet for all of us. On the one hand we are excited to be heading home; to be back in our beds and to be with our friends and families again. On the other hand, we are all sad to leave this special place. While this is the end of one experience, it is also the beginning of another as we all come back home to share our experiences, to share the stories of the people we met, and we have been forever changed.
Our morning once again started bright and early at 7:00am, though we can consider ourselves fortunate because normal groups would wake up at 6:00 since there are more people to coordinate for packing and cleaning, so we got an extra hour of sleep. Yes!!! We packed up our stuff as quickly as possible, which was no small feat given that our bags exploded all over our rooms. We then took our bags out to the van and packed that up.
We then started the unenviable task of cleaning everything, and I mean everything. Since we were the last week we had to clean and tear down. Fortunately for us because it was just the seven of us we did not make a mess and the cleaning went off without a hitch or complaint. As with most of the week we were done early, which is a testament to how hard our youth worked and how they worked together to get the job done. So parents, not only can your children do dishes, but they can vacuum, clean bathrooms, and take out the trash. Learning valuable life skills!
Once everything was cleaned and the school took on its normal appearance, we moved one of the tables outside and had a light breakfast of remaining food. It was quite an eclectic array of food from cheese sticks and muffins to granola bars and pop-tarts. As our departure time of 9:00 slowly approached we spent that last hour hanging out and talking about our experiences. The mood was palpable as our youth had formed a deep connection to this place.
Then around 9:30 the Zechman’s arrived at the school to scoop up Grace so that they could have a few days together at Glacier. It was great that they could see where we stayed and where we worked. After taking a group photo with the amazing YouthWorks staff we said our goodbyes. Grace and her family took off for their adventures and we headed east to pick up the I-15 South towards Great Falls and Helena.
The night before we decided that we would check out the Montana State Fair in Great Falls. So we drove the two hours southeast to Great Falls and the fairgrounds. Apparently no one else had been to a state fair before, except Rev. Lauren and I, so everyone was excited to see what it was all about. we arrived just as the gates were opening up for the day. We walked around the livestock exhibits. We saw the horticultural prizes. We ate fair food and walked around the vendors. The temperature was quickly rising and there was not a cloud in the sky to provide shade so after and hour and a half we were spent. We walked back to the van and we were off to the hotel in Helena.
We got to the hotel around 3:00, the earliest we could check-in, and we all went to our rooms to an actual bed and AC. Laurel and Alissa went to the pool, Ms. Katie got in a workout, while the rest of us relaxed. We grabbed dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings, which was in the same parking lot, and then came back to the hotel to go to bed early. We have a 4:00am departure to the airport to make our 6:00 flight to Minneapolis. A very early start to the next leg of our journey to Baltimore and then home.
See you all soon!!!