Ashley Fyle is finishing up her YAGM year in Australia. You can read the rest of her posts here:
Okay, so my past two blog posts have been titled after Spongebob references… it’s fine.
For whatever reason, I used to have this preconception that once you finish school, you stop learning. Not completely stop, but you know, for the most part. This year has been the first year I’ve been out of school for 16 years, and I can confidently say I, 100%, did not stop learning.
Within my YAGM year, I have learned so much about myself, about the world, and about people. It is incredible how much you can learn in one year and be defined by it. I wanted to share a few THINGS I HAVE LEARNED:
- God is so BIG. S/he is everywhere, does everything, and loves everyone. I have learned to recognize God’s work, be grateful, and share it with others.
- How to connect with campers of all kinds. The power of outdoor education ministry. How to provide a safe, inclusive, team-focused environment.
- Vulnerability is NOT weakness. Vulnerability is something we admire in others, but have a hard time practicing ourselves.
- People are created for connection.
- Does anything stop you from loving others? Is it because you disagree with that person? You aren’t friends? Is it because you don’t believe the same things? Why would you let something get in the way of that? I have learned that everyone is deserving of love. Love your enemies.
- You can find home anywhere you go.
- Telling stories is powerful.
- Diversity is beautiful!
- If you think of positive things to say about someone, tell them!! No matter how cheesy and awkward you might think it is. It could be a defining moment for them.
- Put yourself out there. Make plans. Invite a new friend to hang out. You never know!
- How to be generous AND gracious.
- How to be dependent on other people, yet how interdependence is the goal.
- Feelings are always valid.
- How to feel emotions fully. No holding back.
- Cell phones are distracting. Just leave it at home.
- How to cook ordinary meals for myself.
- How to live simply.
- About Aboriginal Australia.
- Cricket and Aussie rules football rules.
- How to live more eco-friendly and sustainable.
- How to rescue a participant from a high ropes course.
- How to surf.
- How to enjoy waking up early.
- How to paint a house.
- How to play squash.
- Aussie slang and songs.
- AND SO MUCH MORE.
As I am going into my last week in my host community, I have been reflecting on all of the experiences I’ve had and memories I’ve made. I am overwhelmed thinking about how much joy my community, volunteering at camp, and life on the sunshine coast has brought me. God is so GOOD!