As we have spent the past week reflecting on LYS 2015, Former Delegate Harper Golsby wrote her thoughts on The Odyssey Online about her time at LYS. Her words are rewritten below:
Throughout high school, I attended all kinds of summer camps: math camp, science camp, Girls' State, and others. My favorite by far, though, was Louisiana Youth Seminar or LYS. LYS was, and remains to this day, my favorite place on this planet. It did so much for me, and now I finally get to say thank you.
First off, thank you for all the wonderful memories that I will cherish for years to come. Thank you for the sleep deprivation, the crazy cheers, and the amazing friendships I built in only a week. You did so much for me. You gave me confidence to explore and discover who I truly was instead of simply accepting who I had been told I was supposed to be. You gave me courage to find myself. You brought out a side of me that I never knew existed. A side that was willing to dance in front of others and wasn't afraid that they would laugh. A side that could stand up and give speeches and take charge. A side that wanted to share the joy LYS brought me with the world. You taught me lessons that I still use every day of my life.
You taught me that everyone is fighting a battle and everyone has a dream. People are humans; it's as simple as that. And every person you pass on the street has a life as vast and complex and spectacular as your own. Every person you see at the grocery store is fighting some kind of battle in their life. Perhaps it's one with themselves or with another person or with the world as a whole. But no matter the battle, everyone has days where the universe seems to be on the opposing team, and even something as simple as a smile can go a long way. Everyone also has a dream, something they work tirelessly for every single day. Whether it is a dream house or job or family, they get out of bed every day and work towards it. LYS, you showed me that humanity is made of individuals just like me, no matter how different they might seem.
Thank you for being my home and my family during some of the most confusing and stressful years of my life. You gave me amazing friends, role models, and sisters (and one wonderful boyfriend). The people you gave me have stood by my side through my best and worst days. They've stood beside me while I celebrated my triumphs and have held my hand while I cried through my worst nights. You taught me that "No man is an island," a quote that hangs framed on my bedroom wall. It serves as a daily reminder to be the best I can be.
So thank you for it all. Thank you for the wonderful staff that makes all the magic happen. Thank you for the wonderful delegates who go from strangers to friends to family in just one week. And thank you for Jo Pease, the woman who started it all and continues to be an example to everyone. Thanks for the cheers, the sleepless nights, the pictures, the cheesy pickup lines and your mama jokes. Thank you for the memories and the magic. Thank you.
No man is an island.
LYS love and all of mine,