Thursday, December 4, 2008

Atlanta Adventure

Day Zero - My Atlanta Adventure started Wednesday before Thanksgiving, where I left school for Beaverton, Oregon -- where I stayed with a friend overnight and was driven to the Portland airport in the morning. National 4-H Congress is where over 1300 4-Hers from all over the country come to one city and meet up for the ultimate 4-H event. Oregon awarded 17 individuals a paid trip to Atlanta; I was one of them :)

Day 1 - We woke up at 2:45am and our plane boarderd at 5:50 am, leaving right at 6:10. We arrived in Atlanta around 1:45, so it was about 5 hour flight. We took the subway from the Airport into the city, and arrived directly by our hotel, the Hyatt Regency (uber nice!) As soon as we got there we met on the lobby floor and got our hall keys. Oregon was placed on the 21st floor. We had "dinner" which was not all that great after being stuck on a plane all day, but whatever, we were tired so we ate whatever it was that we were given. We got dressed for our state photo, and then got re-dressed for the Welcoming assembly and Pin Exchange. The Welcoming Assembly was very good and inspiring, I forget the speakers name but I'll post pics. The games were a little involved for us tired kids, but we got through them and made it to the FUN pin exchange. I got rid of all 50 of my pins and got most states pins from others.... We were given scarves to place them on, which is a really neat idea. At 11:15 we had our state meetings. Each of us 17 kids donated $20 each towards the builing of a 2nd house (an ongoing community service event) Hence, we made it through the first day.

Day 2 - Had to be up at 5:45 to get 4 girls through one shower and be down to breakfast by 7 am. I was not impressed, as it was just like dinner the night before. After breakfast we had a flag ceremony of the 50 states and Puerto Rico. A grand total of $13,000 was raised this year towards the house, for almost $40,000 for this second house. After that, we went and got dressed, for lesser causual wear for Team Building Workshop, Speed Meeting Workship and my third class was called The Healthy Gourmet. This class was held in a darker room on the first floor, with really comfy chairs and... I fell asleep. When I woke up two hours later, the head chef of the Hyatt Regency Hotel woke me up. Boy was I embarassed. No worries, as I met another Oregon delegate by the elevator, he too fell asleep in his class! We then had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe, which was a wonderful experience. We then had a couple hours to "re-group" in our suite. We got dressed for the international dinner and dance. We quickly ate some REALLY good food, got some crazy pictures, watched a hawaian dance, and some puerto rican dancing. After that we hurried up 21 floors to our suite and watched the OSU vs. U of O game, our civial war. No worries, we were goin to the rosebowl, tied #1 Pac-10 and we ended up loosing, by a landslide. We were missing our key player, Quizz, which I really think made a difference. We were still in high spirits after loosing, so no loss there. We had our state meetings, wrote thank you notes and climbed in bed for another long day.

Day 3 - Breakfast was on our own. Our sweet was open from 8-9 am. I woke up from a bad dream. I rolled over, I looked at my cell phone. EIGHT FIFTY-NINE. We had to be down on the first floor in ONE MINUTE. We got dressed, and we were barely late. We had an assembly. I was too tired to appreciate it. Our State joined Missouri and we went to Pitty Pat's Porch for lunch. It was decent food, but certainly an acquired taste; something we were not used to. We then had worshops. I had Watch Your Back (about identity theft) and another one on buying your first car... corny I know but they were really helpful and the speakers were really good! We then got dressed, and loaded buses for the Atlanta History Center. We got to see some really nice houses/mansions on our way there. The History center was pretty neat! We went to a comedy show, in which this guy pulled kids from the audience and they created a cold show, and it turned out AMAZING! One of our Oregon delegates got selected. I have never laughed so hard in my life! We then went to a Bluegrass concert. It was pretty sweet too! We then did a tour/search. They had several themed rooms, one of which was the 1996 Olympic Games and it was my favorite! When we got back, we had our state meeting around 11:30 and then it was curfew.

Day 4 - Up and down in the Ballroom at 7 am. We were split our ways for community service. I was in a group called MedShare. We didn't have a clue what it was until we got there. We traveled a few towns north (more near Deluth) and ended up in this unfortuante part of the state. We were at a company that distributed new, yet "recycled" medical supplies to other countries. These medical supplies would be either 1) damaged in transport or 2) donated by hospitals (when you have a surgery, all those parts laid out but never get used...., considered "bad") but have never been opened or touched human hands. So our job at MedShare was to "rebox" and inventory several palattes of medical supplies. Through our 50 some MedShare kids, we reboxed well over 1,000 boxes in just a couple hours. It was really neat to see all the different types of stuff, and at the same time help out over 90 participating countries. I know some of my other Oregon delegates had different, yet fun community service experiences as well. After community service, our State had lunch in our suite. We ordered pizza; it was pretty disgusting, but we needed food. We then, did some "rooftop" exploring. A few of my delegates and I had wanteed to get into the "globe" on top of our hotel. We didn't know it was under rennovation, so we had to take the stairs, to the outside of the building and go all the way to the top, on the edge of the building, some 30 stories up. It was a very scarey experience but we had our chap with us. I had the honor of creating neat video of it! We then loaded buses for our Atlanta Tour. Earlier this fall I chose CNN Headline News. I really liked the motor coach tour, we got to see where MLK Jr was born and was buried.... and a lot of neat buildings around the city. But, I wasn't that impressed with CNN. First, we couldn't take pictures or video. Second, we had to go through a intense security check just to get in. Upstairs we got to see a 'fake' (or for eduacational purposes only) weather room, and then we got to see the actual anchor room, and got to see live reporting but we were above the room with soundproof glass. I guess it just didnt make me tick. I would have liked to have visted the zoo or the aquarium... We then got back to our hotel, went up to the room and got dressed for the uber fancy Congress Gala. We had our state meeting early since we werent going to get back till later. First, it SNOWED in Atlanta (after it had been raining all week...thanks to Oregon!). Second, there was the BIGGEST thunderstorm I have ever seen in my life. The sky was exploding. It was very weird weather and it was sooooo warm outside! Not long after that happened, the tornado horn went off for about 3 hours. When we boarded the buses, it was a very loud and scarey experience! We had a very nice dinner at the Georgia Aquarium. Wolfgang Puck Catered.... need I say more the food was AMAZING! Miss America 2008 from Michigan spoke and sang as our entertainment. She was a really awesome kid!

Day 5 - We woke up around 7 am.... This was officially the last day of the Congress. We loaded our luggage into our suite. We went to the closing Assembly, which was actually kinda boring. I mean I stayed awake for most of it and laughed at the funny parts but I was SO sleep deprived! We then went back up to our suite got some money, and proceeded across town to go to "Underground Atlanta" which is basically a preserved train tracks (with city streets built on top of it when the railroad system died there) and its been convered into a mall or a saturday market as we would call it in the NW. I wasn't really in the shopping mood, as we were more on our toes. A bunch of NW kids walking around in that part of town was not a smart idea, so the security officer asked us to stay in groups. We did eat lunch there. Coming back, I will say that I felt odd. First, we were caucasian in an african american town. Second, we were wearing our bright orange Oregon Congress polos. Third, overhalf of us still had our "underground atlanta" reigndeer antlers left on (like those burger king hats kids get). However, most of the people we me through the airport, resturants and at congress were super nice to us and treated us with respect. We were only hasseled a couple times in Underground Atlanta, but one of our chaps stepped up and appropriately dealt with the issue.

Day 6 - We left for the Atlanta airport. When the TSA's saw that we had a huge group [22 of us in orange shirts stick out] they opened up a new lane for us which was really nice! We had some time to relax before our flight left so we secretly bought cards for our 4 chaps and signed them all! The plane ride back was SOOOOOO long with bad headwinds. I ended up falling asleep for a couple of ours, but I got my paragraph written and won the last trivia game just as we were flying over Vancouver. We waited for our luggage and parted our ways. I met up with my sister in law and headed to her house to chill before going back to Corvallis

I came home yesterday morning, I feel pretty exhausted and I'm still not all caught up. However, the time I had in Atlanta was remarkable. I loved getting to know my Oregon delegates better, and I met so many great people! I learned a lot and seen some really neat things. Major thanks to the 82 donors for our 08' trip this year! Too many good memories to remember, and certainly too much to talk about, but this post is already long enough, so I'll compile some good pictures and post them sometime this weekend!

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