Each year, affiliates of the I Have a Dream Foundation across the country send a few Dreamers to the “Dreamer Conference.” This year’s conference was hosted by the Boulder, Colorado affiliate. IHADLA sent eight of its middle school Dreamers along with their program coordinators to the gathering. Our eight Dreamers wrote about the experience – here are their essays.
This year I had the pleasure of attending the 2013 Dreamer Conference. The Dreamer Conference is an annual conference held for selected Dreamers all over the United States. Dreamers are selected from each project to attend the conference. Every year the conference is held on a college campus in the United States. Dreamers come from Los Angeles, Miami, Iowa, Denver, Boulder, Portland, Atlanta, Virginia, and New York City.
At the conference we stayed at the University of Boulder. We stayed in the Andrews Hall in the dorms. My roommate was from Denver, Colorado. Everyone’s roommate was from another state. This was purposely done to let us get the chance to meet new people.
We did many activities in Colorado but my favorites were the scavenger hunt, Congress Park, and the party after the banquet. The first night we did a scavenger hunt on Pearl Street. We had a guide from the college there with us, a map of Pearl Street, and our scavenger hunt list. We were in a group of four with a college guide and an assistant helper. Everyone in my group became friends and it was really fun. My group was in 5th place and we won a t-shirt.
At Congress Park we went swimming. Afterwards there was a lunch/dinner. There were hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, and soda. Then we watched martial artists/ dancers do this karate dance. It was like a mimic of a martial arts fight in a style of dancing. Then we bussed back to the dorms. The bus I was in was really fun like a party. We sang to the music (which was really loud) and we talked and got to know each other better. Our bus driver Mr. Andy gave us a short tour of downtown Denver.
At the banquet we honored all the staff who attended the Dreamer Conference. Also we ate and did our gift exchange. Then we went downstairs to the Game Room and had a huge party. There was bowling, pool tables, air hockey, video games, and a dancing room with a DJ. It was lots of fun. I did bowling and danced with my old and new friends most of the night.
The campus was very nice. It was huge and beautiful. I liked the dorms. It would be better if each room had its own bathroom. The buffet was good but I was not a fan of everything. From what I seen I was very impressed.
Overall, the Dreamer Conference was really nice. Honestly I was not ready to come home. We should have gotten to stay for the whole week. I made at least one new friend from every city. My flight was smooth. It was nice for a first flight. There were fun activities and boring ones but I liked it. The Dreamer Conference was a great experience for me and I would recommend it to all Dreamers.
Going to Colorado was a very fun and educational experience. It helped me become even more social and understand the concept of networking. It showed me that many places in the world can be more peaceful than others. This wasn’t my first time on a plane but it was my first time out of state by myself so it was very exciting, even though on the way back I was asleep. Colorado was a very hands– on place. There are so many awesome places in Colorado, for example Boulder Creek, The Amp Theater, The Tea House, Twirl, and the one and only Boulder’s campus. I had a great time meeting new acquaintances for example Joshua my roommate, Derek, Den, Ivon, and Jason. Staying in the dorm rooms for the past few days actually showed me more responsibility, like waking up on my own and having to be in certain places at certain times. I missed my mom, my loud little cousin, and of course arguing with my sister, but overall I regret nothing. I am happy and very grateful for the opportunity that was given to me. If I had the chance I would do it again. I also learned a couple of things from Rory Vaden who was the male guest speaker.
My experience at the Dreamer Conference was adventurous. I did not realize there were a lot of Dreamer foundations. There were a lot of different dreamers there from different states. I got roomed with an 8th grader named Jazalyn. She is from Des Moines, Iowa and we have a lot of stuff in common. The things we have in common is that we both wear glasses, stay up until 1a.m, and we both are in love with chocolate.
Next experience was the classes. The classes were fun, but the best class was hip- hop dance. The classes were mostly about life, your future, your career, and the obstacles you are going to have to face. The worst part about the classes is how far away they were from each other and that we did not have any transportation to take us to each class, so we had to walk. Everybody’s feet were hurting at the end of each day, not wanting to wake up the next morning to do some more walking.
The worst experience I had was when I got stuck by a cactus. Everybody just got done eating and we were about to take a picture in a grassy field. Knowing that there were cacti in the fields they still made us go. So there I was walking along making sure I did not step on a cactus, and then I look up for a minute still walking and then I felt a pinch. I have got a cactus stuck in my leg, I was going to freak out but the pain was hurting. I called out to my friends to help me so they called an adult over. The staff pulled the cactus out of my leg which hurt real bad and I still had to take the picture. After we took our picture we had to walk onto the trail, remember I have not put any pressure on my leg yet so my friends helped me onto the trial. As I started walking I started to feel the pain, then my eyes started tearing up and I began to cry. My leg was hurting so bad that people had to carry me away onto a bus. Well my leg stopped hurting after I put the sting relief on my leg and my leg was feeling a whole lot better.
My favorite part about the conference was the bowling and dancing. It was fun to go out and party with friends and communicate with others. It was a free day of work kind of sort of. The DJ was whack because he was not playing any dancing music for us to dance to. The bowling was fun, my friends and I had a great time together.
What I learned from the conference was that you are going to face difficult obstacles in your life and you are going to have to face them. You can overcome your obstacles by working harder and having self- confidence that you can do it. I also learned that we Dreamers are lucky to have this program. Some people wish they had this program when they were kids. We have great opportunities with this program that other people did not. All I can say is we are the luckiest kids on earth to have what we have today, and we take that stuff for granted that we should not.
My first plane experience was the best and smoothest. I did not get motion sickness at all, but I did have minor headaches from time to time. I had a window seat on the way to Colorado and the sky and clouds were so beautiful up close. The best part is that I got to sit next to the people I love which are my friends, Taylor and C’mone. The worst part is that we got seats right next to the bathrooms, which people got to keep on using. The smell of it, it smelt like every single person that used the bathroom used number 2.
The Dreamer Conference was a great experience. Meeting national dreamers and project coordinators was fun. First day being there was tiring having to catch up an hour but it was worth it. The scavenger hunt was a great way to bond with our roommates. The people and the city were so amazing. Meeting Rory Vaden and getting his book was fun. He is a good man and the book is also good. My mentor lunch was with Rory and he was telling me how he traveled with his buddies. He had been to Miami, St. Louis, New York, and a bunch of other states. I had a lot of fun every day. Going swimming in warm water, barbecuing, shopping, Pearl Street, and the park was like my life. Swimming with my friends and other dreamers was crazy! The BBQ was great and the veggie meat was good. Shopping was cool I got two shirts and some jewelry. Pearl Street can be described with only three words BEST PLACE EVER! Being at the park seeing all types of dogs was pretty good.
The last day was super fun. We had our classes not all that but it was still fun. Getting ready for the banquet and the banquet was fun and good. The “after party” was fun also. We danced all night and bowled like crazy. I think my favorite part was the whole thing.
Being a part of the 2013 Dreamer Conference was a great honor. In Colorado I learned many informational things. The most important thing I took away from the different class activities and workshops is that I’m too young to stay stuck on one career choice or one particular college because I have plenty of time to decide. My two favorite workshops were Sketch Comedy & Improv and the Inventing class. Sketch Comedy & Improv was awesome because we did different acting drills without a script and we just made up things as we went. I enjoyed the Invention class because we all got to tell our ideas and express ourselves. My favorite part of the conference was when all of the Dreamers went to the park after we went swimming and had the nice picnic. Also I enjoyed watching the Jujitsu performers, they were entertaining. I’ve flown on airplanes numerous times before, but this experience was fun because I was with my peers. Also, when returning to California the flight attendant had good customer service, I felt like I was in first class. I had an enjoyable time in Colorado with everyone and I hope I am privileged to come to another Dreamer Conference.
My favorite part of the Dreamers Conference was exciting living those days as a college student in a dorm in Colorado, meeting new people. What I learned was to be an independent teenager away from home and be responsible. My favorite workshop was the History of Hip Hop taught by Musa Cunningham. I learned how to rhyme and mix beats together. The scavenger hunt activity was fun downtown but most of all the plane was awesome. I flew at 5, but now I’m older I can remember looking through the clouds seeing small cities and the Grand Canyon on the way and an experience to remember.
My Dreamer Conference Experience was great. I had a lot of fun. My favorite part was getting my dorm room key. That was my favorite part because I felt like a real college student. What I learned was how to backwards plan for college and how to plan my college year and that it’s not easy to get into college. My favorite workshop was the Comedy and Sketch. That was my favorite workshop because we got to act out scenes and play fun acting games. Another fun workshop was with Rory Vaden. He is the actor and author of Take the Stairs. He told us that it was not easy trying to write the book. My first plane experience was scary going to Colorado but on our way back to Los Angeles it was fun but we had a lot of snacks like Snickers and chips.
Hi my name is C’mone Cheyenne Garrett and I am going to the seventh grade. I will be attending Parent Elementary with my project coordinator Ms. Morgan. I was chosen to go to Boulder Colorado because I completed a packet, did my essay, and had good grades. While I was in Boulder Colorado, I had the opportunity to have my own room key, swim, take very interesting classes, and to see the great mountains up close. I enjoyed being in the college rooms and having my own room key because it made me feel responsible and it made me feel mature. I stayed in a room with someone that I had never seen before, and had felt weird about it but ended up enjoying her company. We didn’t talk much but she was nice and gave positive energy to the room. Other then my roommate I took six different classes. I took “Taking the stairs,” first and enjoyed it the most because it encouraged me to try at what’s harder then what’s easier because it’s a set out to success. I enjoyed all my classes very much. They were fun, interesting and gave me even more encouragement in following my dreams and getting to success. The trip to Colorado was great. I thought it helped me a lot and got my mind set to where it was supposed to be. I have always thought big in life but the way the instructors told me was so inspiring. Next year if I have the opportunity to try to go wherever the dreamer conference is I will do whatever it takes, I will TAKE THE STAIRS. I know that this year me and my LA friends didn’t really separate to meet others, but the few others that I met were great, and if I got the chance to go again, I would meet new people, participate more in the group conversations, and strive to help others. I loved the trip and can’t wait for another. IHAD has been a great program to me, and the way my project coordinators work to make sure that I am doing my best is awesome. I am willing to do the work, because they are willing to go above and beyond for me. THE DREAMER CONFERENCE WAS THE BEST!!!