Let me open this week’s post by expressing my condolences for the victims of the Aurora, Colorado shooting. A tragedy like this is both terrifying and unifying. It is easy to allow that sly disease called fear to drip from the words of journalists and eye-witness reporters and sliver into our hearts. But it is important to remember that this is not a tragedy faced alone. Like Columbine, like any other unexcused public shooting, our nation grieves as one. We must not let it become a polarizing issue. It is time for us to recognize the common fragility that we all share and to unite with empathy under the banner of our own humanity. If we do this, then James Holmes fails.
Keep that in mind.
On a slightly warmer note, this has been a fairly significant week for the fall 2012 Invisible Children team leaders. I think it’s safe to say that summer has officially ended and the impending tidal wave of the fall semester has cast its shadow over our assorted crew.
It started on Monday when we learned for the first time the names of our team members. It’s funny how easy it is to get into the routine of saying “my team” on the phone or in e-mails without having a face or a name to paste over that mental silhouette of our group. But the names have been announced and the first three-fourths of our teams are complete.
I, for one, couldn’t be happier about my team. Christian Huisman is one of my close friends and our paths have been intertwined for nearly a year. He arrived in San Diego shortly before I left to join my old teammate Maggie on tour to Texas. For the spring semester, he led a team through the deep south, a region that includes my home state of Florida. And now he will be joining me for his third tour to travel the Greater Los Angeles area. I am excited for the experiences and positivity he will bring to the team.
Claire Shannon, our other teammate, instantly brings energy and fun into any situation. She has been living with us here at the La Mesa house all summer and has been working for Invisible Children as an engagement intern. Her positivity has been essential when speaking on the phone to supporters and dealing with the not-so-supporters. I am excited to have her on my team.
If knowing our teammates wasn’t sufficient to allow the weight of tour to sink in, the team leader retreat this weekend certainly did the job. We ended the week early to drive up to Lake Arrowhead for an intensive, two-day leadership program. At the retreat, the Movement staff laid out their expectations for the team leaders and explained our responsibilities for the read, but also left room for a little bit of fun. We returned yesterday with a nervous energy but also a contagious excitement for the road.
One week from now, the fall roadies will be arriving. It is time for us to step up and assume the responsibilities that this role entails. Summer is over and the fall tour is inevitable. I, for one, can’t wait.
P.S. I am still accepting donations at https://invisiblechildren.secure.force.com/pmtx/Donations_IC_DirectSupport?id=70170000000k3L6AAI. Please don’t feel obligated to donate, but if you are compelled to give I would really appreciate it. Living in San Diego is expensive. Especially when you work as a full time volunteer. Anything from 5 dollars to 50 dollars will be a huge help.
P.P.S. If anybody wants more current updates on what I am doing, follow me on instagram! My handle is austin_estes