Post FILC – Memories to Cherish

Wow…just, wow…  I am the type of person who tries to never really have any expectations when he participates in an event or activity, or when he goes out to some place he’s never been to before. I would like to take a moment and thank God for that trait… thank you God! FILC blew my mind! It is probably the best thing I have done since coming to the US. I met a group of around 16 people about a week before the conference, and we met 3 times to work on that poster I mentioned in my last post. Those meetings were successful on two fronts: first of all, our poster got 2nd place in the competition! Second and more importantly, it brought us closer to each other, broke the ice, hammered it, BURNED it… So, anyways, going into the conference I had a basic idea about each of the members of my group, in particular, Oriana. She works with me at the Center for Global Engagement. You know, polite, always smiling, typical front-desk girl. Or so I thought… let me just stop there. I don’t want to, well… what happens in FILC… yeah. Now, it is safe to say that I know my group well and I love each and every one of them!

                The conference started off on a good note. We went through some activities and got to know a little about each of the participants, something like 130 students from 61 different countries.  One of the highlights was not something I expected to enjoy that much at all: kayaking. It was the first thing my group and I did when we were given some free time. They had a shack by the lake with a bunch of kayaks and paddles and life jackets. We enjoyed it enough that both mornings we woke up early to go kayaking and see the sunrise view from the lake. It was amazing but one thing was missing, the sunrise! The clouds just had to disappoint us, but no! We didn’t let some… clouds let us down!  We demanded to have fun and such were the type of people at the camp. They all wanted to enjoy the camp to the fullest and accordingly everyone was so fun oriented and open-minded and social; and that gave the conference a special ambience. So to enjoy ourselves, we played a few rounds of bumper kayaks! The thrill of your kayak wobbling violently and of the possibility of it flipping over after being rammed into by another kayak was intense! For many of us kayaking was a new skill that we acquired and it was quite enjoyable.

                There was no ‘world cup’ soccer tournament like last year, but (coming from me it may sound weird) that was a good thing. Many students wanted to play other sports. In respect to that we had three different sports going on at the same time, soccer, volleyball, and basketball, and the lesser amount of people at each sport made it more organized and gave more playing time to each participant. Since obviously, I played soccer, I can only speak for those who played soccer; it was a great game! as I was told the volleyball and basket ball games were. The conference activities were rounded up with a nice little Dance, and people showed off their different traditional dances and there was a mask competition as the theme of the dance was Mardi Gras. Finally, on the last day the closing ceremony involved words from each of the peer leaders and other participants who received the talking football. A football was passed around and whoever catches gets to give a little speech in front of eveyone, no pressure, about the experience, best memory, gratitude, etc. It was sad to watch the vans leave and eventually to leave yourself, looking back at the camp form the rear window.

                Of particular significance was the presence of Florida Black Bears! Unfortunately, it was always dark when we saw them and we had to keep a distance from them so it was difficult to take good pictures of them. We also saw some beautiful cranes!  Some people saw alligators and frogs as well, a raccoon, squirrels obviously; a nice mixture of animals.

                What surprised me the most, (maybe it wasn’t the most enjoyable thing at the conference, but) the speakers were really interesting. They spoke to us about motivation, leadership, and answered numerous questions that we posed at random in a brilliant fashion.

I could ramble on and on and on… and on about FILC and just how awesome it is but it wouldn’t be enough for you to understand. You have to be there and go through it yourself! Days later and until now people are posting things like “I miss FILC”, “There should be an FILC every month”, “thank you guys for an amazing experience, see you all next year”, and so on. People are already looking forward to doing this again next year!

Post-FILC Effects:

1)      Tons of amazing new friends

2)      Positive, happy attitude – effect won’t  start to fade until maybe a week after the conference

3)      Exhaustion caused by the lack of sleep at the camp

4)      Huge increase in the amount of time spent on Facebook

5)      Ego boost – an ‘I went to FILC therefore I am a leader now’ mentality

6)      Increased invitations to events (goes with number 1)

7)      A new you!

Some day hopefully, YOU will go to the FILC and then you can create your own list!

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One Response to Post FILC – Memories to Cherish

  1. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am inspired!
    Extremely useful info specially the final phase 🙂 I deal
    with such info much. I used to be looking for this particular information for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

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