My Trip to the Nurturing the Nurturers Conference
By Jacob Stewart
Wednesday, March 10, 1999
Me and my mom are on the road to go to South Carolina. I’m really sad cause my best friend Nick Mann decided to stay home with his dad instead of coming on this trip with me. I’m REALLY excited about being on an island. I’ve never been on an island that I can remember. I’m also excited about going to the beach even though it’s supposed to be super cold. I’m also very scared about not knowing people and being bored and sad thinking that I should have stayed home. Tomorrow I’m going to be alone cause my mom has a workshop and there isn’t a child’s program yet. I have to plan what I’m going to do. Mom says I can help out but I brought my “Mad” magazines to read.
Something I just noticed was how beautiful it is here. The Spanish moss puts a really cool affect to the big and wide trees. The ground looks really soft and sandy instead of hard or muddy where I live. I really wish Nick where here.
We just arrived at the place the retreat is being held and it’s really cool I stepped out of the car onto dark brown sand. I’ve only seen white sand before so I made a mental note of how cool it is. I took my bike out of the car and rode around after helping my mom carry in the luggage. It’s hard to ride here. Because of the sandy ground the back tire swerves. After falling a couple of times I decided to try it later. I went up to the room and started on my homework while mom was at a meeting. I’ve put my homework away and read for about forty-five minutes. I get a cot cause my dad is coming tomorrow and he gets the second bed. I decided to unpack instead of keeping my cloths in my suitcase the whole time, plus it gives me something to do. Mom came back and we’re going to go eat dinner in the mess hall. I got my food and I sat with mom eating since I couldn’t see any kids my age or any kids at all. The food is good and I’m filled. Mom went to another meeting and I’m in the room alone again since it’s too dark to go biking. Well I just put my book in my back-pack and am sitting on the cot thinking about school and wishing Nick were here or any of my other friends.
Mom’s come back and is talking to dad on the cell-phone I’m going to say hello to dad and then go to bed.
Thursday, March 11, 1999
Today I had to get up pretty early for breakfast. As usual I said hello to people (mostly my mom’s friends) that I saw at dinner last night. I looked around and still there are no kids my age. That makes me a little sad but there still is hope. I went to the building that mom has a meeting in and got out my work. I worked for about ten minutes and was asked if I wanted to help get the registration stuff ready. I decided to help even though I was bummed out about it, but I wanted to be polite. It wound up being a lot of fun helping the adults in what I was capable of doing. The person who keyed me in to what was going on was a nice man named Lyle Jenks. He told me what to do and how to do it. I enjoyed it; it was a nice learning experience and rewarding.
After the meeting I rode my bike around and then went to the beach with my mom and a small group of people. It was sooooooooooo cool. We walked around even though it was like about ten degrees (exaggera-tion). What was fun and really bad at the same time was the trees that had fallen down on the shore. I got to play in them, but I thought that it wasn’t fun that they had fallen down from erosion. Then I looked out into the water and saw DOLPHINS. I couldn’t believe it so I yelled out some and people then started notic-ing them. They were very close to shore and at first we thought they might be sharks because of their dorsal fins but we debated and I said how sharks didn’t swim in packs. After the dolphins swam away we went around the bend of the island and saw the lighthouse. It was neat but we couldn’t go in it cause it was being cleaned or restored or something. That’s a bummer. We did get to go into this building outside of the light-house! It was more of a shed with all sorts of stuff, for instance there was a tin bucket filled with cement that was exactly the same weight of the amount of oil the caretaker of the lighthouse had to carry up it every day.
After that me and my mom went and prepared for dinner. Dinner was the usual. I saw some kids (A few) and was a little pleased. Then the night program! But first before the night program, we all (including adults) sat in this one meeting room and there were some prayers said and people talked and my name was MENTIONED! Lyle was thanking me for my help in front of everybody. I felt pretty proud and happy. Then the meeting broke and we went to the night program. On the way I stopped the kid I saw in the meeting that we just came from and said hello and asked his name. Since I just met him about a couple hours ago I can’t remember his name but anyway the night program was fun. At first we all sat down around a table and learned each other’s names. When I went people had obviously remembered my name being mentioned because everyone kind of did a “Oh, he’s the guy who helped the adults” motion. Which wasn’t a bad thing because it made me feel special in the group and people acted more friendly toward me. After that we went outside and played a weird game, which was pretty discriminating at times. There was a person in the mid-dle who said “people with” and then some characteristic, like purple shoes or something.
I met my dad before we went back to our room. My parents went with me up to our room. This is my first night in the cot.
Friday, March 12, 1999
Today we woke up early again for breakfast. We then went down and said hello to our friends and I ate with the friends I made at the night program yesterday. Then we went to the morning program, which was fun. We played some games like hide and go seek although it was one person hiding and the rest trying to find him. It was a little unfair cause I had my bike and could go faster than the hider, but I didn’t catch anyone and passed a few by sometimes but I mostly saw people.
After the morning program we had about an hour and a half of break time before lunch. My friends and me went to this place where the water from the ocean ran in and there where tall weeds were sticking out. At the end of the break we went to lunch and ate with each other. I talked with some of the older kids in the group and became better friends with them.
Then after that we had a break after lunch and me and my younger friends went off and talked in the lobby of one of the houses. My older friends went to the beach but I had already gone and didn’t want to go again. The night program was fun. The main person read us stories and we drew pictures.
After the night program me and my friends played Ultimate Frisbee. I really wish Nick was here but I’m still having fun.
Saturday March 13, 1999
It’s Saturday! I have to go back home tomorrow. I’ll really miss this place even though I know I’ll remember it forever. I had a really great time here. I’m really tired and can barely write so I think I’ll stop here. Now we’ll go to bed. I hope I sleep really good cause it is a long way home tomorrow.
Jacob Stewart is a member of Durham Monthly Meeting, Durham, NC, affiliated with Piedmont Friends Fellowship and North Carolina Yearly Meeting, Conservative. He is in the 8th grade at Carolina Friends School and enjoys reading, dance, drama, art and biking.