Monday, May 2, 2011

All About Women

*I apologize for the length of this post sans pictures. Mostly it's just for my memory purposes. If you don't care to read all the way through, I totally get that.

Last week I had the privilege of not only attending, but being a part of, Women's Conference at BYU. I had been asked by a good friend and bowling buddy to help with the service project part of the conference. Being the giver that I am, I was anxious to help.

Let me say that I have never expressed any interest in Women's Conference. It's not something I would ever do on my own. It's just not my personality to want to better myself, or become more prepared. How can one improve upon perfection? Now if they offered a class in awesomeness, I would totally take that class. Are you sensing my sarcasm here? Because I want that to be abundantly clear. Okay.

So we had agreed to help with the Newborn Kits part of the Service Project, and attended meetings to prepare us for the work ahead. The humanitarian center people kept reminding us that it would seem a daunting task, but the women would come, and we would prepare adequate amounts of kits. We trusted them.

So Wednesday night, we headed to BYU to prepare our stations. We assembled 1,000,000 boxes. Okay, I might be exaggerating there, but it seemed like a million. I think it was somewhere around 5,000. Each box we assembled was to hold 8 newborn kits. You do the math. That's a lot of newborns getting needed supplies. We worked hard all night getting prepped. Around 10:00 we headed home, exhausted and bruised.

Thursday morning we woke up early to head to the conference. One benefit of being a volunteer is a free admission to the whole conference, so we thought we should take advantage of a few of the speakers. The first class I attended was called "Rising Above Depression". Although I remain medicated, I still struggle with symptoms of depression, and I thought this might be a good way to get a new outlook on treatment. The first speaker was excellent. She spoke about her lifelong struggle with her own depression, and even though she is well-educated, most of her life went by as if she was in a fog. That really resonated with me. She didn't get treatment and medication for her depression until her late 30's, and now she knows how hard it can be to overcome. Her thoughts were very practical; medication, therapy and a strong support group are all essential to overcome depression. The second speaker wasn't my favorite. She basically summed up her talk by saying if you're more grateful, serve more, and pray more you won't be depressed. Um, yeah, that doesn't always work. So I got a good 50% uplift out of that class.

The next class was about ordinary women doing extraordinary things. It was great. The first speaker was eh, not great, but the second speaker was phenomenal! I could have listened to her for the whole hour. I wish I was more versed in who I should and shouldn't try to fit into the packed class schedule, but next time I go, I'll definitely look her up.

That night we had the actual service project. We gathered at 4:00 for a team meeting and final preparations. The project was slated to begin at 5:00. 5:30 rolls around, and we're barely finding enough women to staff 1 station. We had 6 prepared. It wasn't looking good. I was so afraid that we'd be stuck filling all those kits on our own. But sure enough, just like the humanitarian center people promised, the women came, and before we knew it, the place was emptied out. If you want to see a great slideshow, including a rather unnerving close-up of yours truly, you can see it here. It really shows the scope of the project.

We ended the night exhausted, but very fulfilled. Honestly, I think I got more uplift from doing the service project than I did from the classes. There's just something about working physically hard, and going to bed completely beat, but knowing you've made such a difference, that makes you feel closer to God.

I'm so grateful to Tammis for asking me to be one of her helpers. I know that I was lead to be on her bowling team so this could all come about, and not just for this purpose. Tammis and Calleen have become very close friends of mine that I might otherwise never have had the pleasure of knowing. They are strong women who make me want to be better. I'll have a good bowling post coming up soon, so you'll want to stay tuned for that.

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Phoebe said...

Good for you Keli! I love going to Women's conferences and every time I leave a service project I always feel better- even though it may take a bit of persuasion to get there;)

grannybabs said...

I remember going to the first-ever Women's Conference - Mom and I stayed in Leslie's Heritage Hall dorm even!! I have gone to several - and you are right - every class isn't great - at least not for you - but it's probably great for someone And I always found more great classes than not-so-great classes. And it was just fun to go.

And I'm always up for a service project - King Benjamin had it right!

Hill Family said...

That is really awesome Keli. I would love to help too.


Tami Allred said...

Glad you have great friends who are doing such good things. You are incredible.

fluentbrittish said...

You're a trooper. Women's Conference sounds like the most terrifying thing in the world to me. Thousands of women packed together on a University campus fighting to get into popular classes??? Shudder!!! I just read the book each year when it comes out (and by "read" I mean that I check it out from the library and let it sit on my bookshelf for three weeks so I look righteous).