Saturday, March 23, 2013

Preparing the "Army"

Saturday arrives--the day of advocacy, education, and judging.   This is a day some expect me to barely survive.  It could be a day of exhaustion and nervousness after all.  That is not at all the case for me.  It is the day I most look forward to every year.  The day that is full of learning and growing and connecting with amazing, strong women who happen to use wheelchairs.  Every year I am impressed, yet once again, at the "army" (thanks Stephanie) of women I know and have grown to love.  I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that they will be there for me whenever I need them.  Each time I'm with them, I am excited to learn just a little bit more from their amazing wisdom. 
We had amazing sessions together.  We got to pick the brain of Ms Wheelchair Kansas 2012,
Emily Evans and see what insight she could give us about the year ahead.  I am so thankful Emily brought her display board she made for Ms. Wheelchair America.  It had a map of Kansas on it, so I could show everyone just exactly where WaKeeney is located.  It is in Northwest Kansas on I-70 halfway between Kansas City and Denver for those who don't know.

The rest of the day was filled with sessions practicing our platform and then the fun part of going out into the hotel to share it with random strangers.  That was so much fun and I met some amazing people.  One group gave me a pamphlet to peruse at my later convenience.  One woman and I had differences of opinion on some issues, but managed to discuss them with kindness and respect.  It must have made an impression, because she waved big as I wheeled by the breakfast area the next morning.  I did invite her to the Crowning Ceremony.  I didn't see her there, but I was slightly preoccupied.  :)  If that is an indication of what is to come, this year is going to be amazing.  We also had sessions on communication and advocacy, things we will definitely be needing to help our voices be heard.  The great news is, I know for sure which individuals to call on when I need help in those areas.  And, I will probably be needing help.  So, Julia and Stephanie, be expecting a phone call.  :)
Of course, Saturday also involved our first meeting of the judges.  My mom asked me if I was nervous and my response was that I was so excited about that day, I could manage anything for a few minutes.  Fortunately, it was not an uncomfortable or unpleasant experience.  I did leave feeling challenged, but it was a good feeling.  I was always treated with kindness and respect and overall had a positive experience.
We ended our sessions with a Zumba session.  Now I have done Zumba before and was totally lost.  So, I only did it once and never again.  But, having it specifically taught for those in wheelchairs, by someone in a wheelchair was an awesome experience.  Thank you JoAnne!!  My arms were tired by the end of the hour, but I had a great time.  Now, if I could only kidnap you to come to Western Kansas and do a class once a week or so.  The good news is I could move my arems thenext day to get ready for the Crowning Ceremony.  :)
The night ended with a time of relaxation, fun, and laughter.  We had a good old fashioned pj party.  Well not everyone was in their pjs, so maybe we should just call it a pizza party.  I can't remember the last time I was in a room with so much laughter.  That should be a requirement for every week of my life.  :) 
Eric found other stuff to do all day.  There was just a little too much estrogen in the room for him, I think.  Good thing the Expo Center was having a motorcycle show next door.
I think I need a sidecar for my wheelchair

Since Eric wasn't around to take photos, here is the powerpoint put together for the Crowning Ceremony with pics taken by Stacy Greenwood.

This has been an amazing day with very little nerves for me.  They will show up tomorrow. . .
To Be Continued . . .

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