Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mentoring Field Trip

Last week the mentor program took the kids and their mentors to BYU. The whole purpose of the trip was to inspire the kids to begin thinking about their futures -- whether they would like to go to college, join the military, or turn gay. (JUST KIDDING! I'll explain in a second.)

Anyway, we started the whole day at the Hinckley Center, which was really awesome because even though I was on campus when they dedicated the building, I had never actually been inside. (Side note: I got AWESOME parking for this whole thing. Best parking I've ever gotten on campus. Period.)

I walked in and couldn't spot my little mentee and they started 10 minutes early, the punks. The BYU representative was an older man, he said he was 70 or something, and so right away I was bored. I don't know how the kids endured it. I did try to watch the whole thing the way I thought I would if I had been their ages (anywhere from 3rd to 9th grade, I believe).

Riley Nelson was the next speaker. The old guy really built him up as being the most popular athlete on campus and all this jazz. And Riley spoke about adversity and putting the work into making your dreams come true. He had a few good quotes that I would've written down if I had come prepared. After what seemed like a long time, he opened up the time for questions. Little kids ask dumb questions. And they ask the same dumb questions that have been answered 3x already. But that's fine. Riley handled it really well. He then let the kids line up and he signed autographs and shook everyone's hand. My mentee waited until they were clearing the room and going on to the next thing before he had the guts to ask Riley a question, and then he asked something that had already been asked.


But we did get some good pictures. (I don't know the rule about posting children's pictures online without parental consent, so... I'm not going to post anything questionable.)

We moved outside where the BYU ROTC 5-man drill team did a little presentation. It was cool, and it turns out that BYU won first place at their competition this year. They usually do really well, too, and that's against all the military schools, like West Point. The boys especially loved handling the sword and the 12-lb. guns they toss and twirl about.

After the presentation, we went back into the room so the ROTC guys could talk about being in the ROTC and what their goals and ambitions are. Ramon told me that he wanted to join the air force and was quite taken with the guys. He was also starving, and couldn't wait until lunch.

We played tag walking to the Canon Center and were the first people in. They opened up the whole place to us, and we got to go and pig out. I had a salad. Ramon had everything that could fit on his plate. He also made sure that he kept an eye out for the ROTC guys, because he was determined to sit with them; he did find a spot, but that left me without a lunch buddy. If only I had had my Kindle or my book! I would have sat and read, happily, but without reading material, I didn't want to look like a loser, so I decided to sit at another table with a lone ROTC guy, and then we were joined by some other kid that I chatted with all through lunch. It was very extroverted of me: very out of character.

After lunch, we headed over to the Planetarium. I was excited about this, but it turns out that they forgot about us, and we spent a lot of time playing with everything they have out at the science building. Which was fine. When we finally got up to the Planetarium, I realized that we were in for a long afternoon. The lady next to me couldn't stay awake and was snoring quite loudly; on the other side, I had Ramon begging me to go to the bathroom. (Again. He had literally just gone before we walked in the room.) The lady showed us a movie and it was terribly boring and even though I had been most excited about going to the Planetarium, it became drudgery and I hated it. Ramon got mad at me because I wouldn't let him go to the bathroom. He said, "Fine. I'm not talking to you. And I'll just hold it!" And I said to myself, Great! You shouldn't be talking anyway and holding it is exactly what I want you to do!

After the Planetarium, though, I let Ramon go to the bathroom. The guy in charge told me that they were headed to the RB, so Ramon and I walked ahead of everyone because I knew where we were going. After going down the RB stairs, and then climbing them again because Ramon took off, and then going back down and up one more time, I began to wonder where everyone was. We did finally find them in one of the dance hall areas where the Young Ambassadors practice.

Now, the Young Ambassadors is a cool group. I know people who were in it. They get to travel all over the world doing performances and singing and dancing and all kinds of musical-ly things. I'm just not completely convinced that they let straight men perform. I think that the guys in the band part aren't gay. But the singers/dancers... I just don't know. Ramon hated everything about this portion of the day. He was tired, cranky, and ready to go home. AND he didn't want to dance in front of everyone. He did a few of the stretches, and that was it. He refused to participate in learning the dance they taught and he refused to go and sit where they were mingling with the kids. I couldn't get him to do anything, and honestly, I was having my own issues and couldn't participate. So we sat on the window ledge looking like complete boobs. If I had known anything about Young Ambassadors when I was in school, and if I had a teaspoon of talent, I would have tried to join up. They have such awesome opportunities! In fact, they had just gotten back from Cuba! (I didn't know Americans could travel to Cuba? Haha...)

By the time I got Ramon on the bus, I was tired and exhausted and extra crampy. How do teachers take whole classes on field trips? One 9-year old was enough to drive me batty.

Over all, I think the kids enjoyed the day; though, I found it to be really boring. I hope Ramon does join the Air Force though, or decides to do something really respectable and worthwhile with his life. Although, I wouldn't be surprised if he forgot all his ambitions to join the Air Force before I see him again this week.

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