Even though the 7th Annual Rainbow Ball Weekend doesn’t kick off until April 11th 2014, we’ve already been quite busy. In the fall members of the 100% Society and members of the all-inclusive fraternity Omicron Delta Pi and friends held craft/decorations parties to start making the decorations for the Ball itself. The theme is “Action Heroes” and we made city-scapes – kinda Gotham-esque. For the photo area C will design a comic book-like graphic with a ‘Unity Unicorn’ hero. We traveled to Rockland, Maine one weekend to attend an OUT! As I Want to Be lgbtqa youth meeting and made a meal…did set off a fire alarm…maybe a blog for another time. Worked on a photo gallery exhibit for display during the weekend with photographer Linda Eastman. Bernie Vinzani who directs the Book Arts Studio will oversee us making chapbooks of the photos as one fundraiser. I’ve worked with my colleagues Meghan, Lori, Dan, and Heather on a program plan on Saturday for professional development for educators and counselors/social workers/case managers. Worked with local agencies for offering health services. Working up some new workshops – maybe “Dragulous” delivered by awesome queens. I communicated with our Keynote Speaker Wayne Maines who with his family and trans daughter are real life heroes in Maine. He’s got a great plan for this year, “Recognizing Courage: Learning from Transgender Children” and includes his daughter in the Q&A. He’s such an inspiration, Mary Moss explains just how inspirational he is in her blog. Wayne wrote about his first Rainbow Ball last year on his Huffington Post Blog. That was sweet! Kinda national!! Sweeter still was when Amy & Gracie (an alum and her partner) threw a Rainbow Ball in Oklahoma last spring!
This event started out as a shiny, glittery gleam in a small group of students’ eyes to support lgbt youth in the local high schools. We have come so incredibly far. There was no weekend of events the first year or any kind of networking with lgbta youth advisors. We had two high school youth groups interested the first year and one group dropped out because they didn’t have transportation. Thank goodness for Lis and the OUT! as I Want to Be crew who showed up… all 8. Yep. But we had a great dance in the cafe with lots of campus allies and Lis has been key to our success all these years. She let us know how to work with high school groups and who to contact and what these youth would like. Several of the mighty 8 have continued to attend later RBW’s and graduated to helping. A few local high school youths have attended the dance since the second ball. Two years ago we had our first local youth come and stay for the weekend. We helped establish a local PFLAG and that PFLAG helped start a local gay straight trans alliance, the first in the county. We still have a long way to go on our journey though both small and large. More support for local lgbta youth and safer schools for all. Our Rainbow Ball Weekend mission – a state wide weekend of fun and educational events for lgbtqa youth in a completely accepting atmosphere that sustains and inspires us all. I hope you enjoy hearing about the odyssey – good, bad, and bold.