Yesterday, the four of us put on our Sunday best and had the honor of sitting in on a meeting of the board of directors for the St. Francis Mission. Part of this meeting included a brief presentation of the four new young people from the JVC and what they were doing here on the Rosebud Reservation (oh wait, that’s like, totally us). The rest rest of the meeting focused on such titillating subject matter as budgets. Who DOESN’T want to spend their Saturday morning listening to people talk about liquid assets and insurance complaints? No one ever told me being a grown up would be this much FUN! Ok, so clearly, I’m being a sarcastic little twit, but there was a serious and important message I took away from sitting in on this meeting and hearing about what the mission has planned for the future.
St. Francis Mission has an absolutely amazing vision. They are concerned about what is causing the tragedies on this reservation. They don’t want to just treat the symptoms that are the suicides, drug abuse, alcoholism, and a general recklessness that stems from an apathetic life and leads to a violent death. They want to root out the evils that afflict this community at its core and rip those afflictions out. Not only that, but Fr. Hatcher has an idea and a plan, an honest-to-goodness, here’s-when-we -can-start-and-here’s-what-it-will-cost, every-ruthless-pragmatist’s-dream plan. During the meeting, while the board discussed how to fundraise a new school, someone brought up the point that during some year in the past, none of the great institutions of our time existed. They first had to be created brought to fruition by dedicated and ordinary people who pushed themselves to make these places, these dreams, possible. Fr. Hatcher has dreamed of a better place here and building that dream (which is the only way in which dreams have any worth—when they are built). The man is impressive and I want to leave this place with a year long history that impresses him. If I leave here bemoaning that I could have done more or I wasn’t challenged enough, I have only myself to blame. Welcome to the real world, kid. There’s no more hand holding and assigned homework. There’s the problem. Go fix it.
I think I could love this.
Equally as exciting, we had dinner and played board games with some of the teachers who work with Teach for America (i.e, people my age besides Mike, Neil and Monica). It was AWESOME! Not only did I get to try pickle rolls (beef, pickle and cream cheese? YES, PLEASE) and utterly destroy the competition in Catchphrase, I got to meet and chat with some new people, all of whom were lively and interesting. Two of the things that energize me like an eleven year old on Mountain Dew are board games that require shouting and rooms full of people, so I left the soiree fully and completely pumped. Even thinking about it now is making my adrenaline rise a little bit.