A weekend of fun and educational activities for LGBTTTQQIAA HS youth hosted by students at a small university in Maine

It means a lot

“Hey just wanted to tell you that you are one of the people that has helped me in my life. After I attended the rainbow ball my first time I was a lot more comfortable with who I was. And that opened up a lot of doors for me (no pun intended). So I just wanted to thank you again.”

Best feeling ever!  And I get to reread that when I need to.  And yeah, I do need to. There are times when we feel overwhelmed and that’s not the royal we.  I was chatting a couple weeks ago to some ‘ballers’  – UMM students who help with the Rainbow Ball Weekend – that’s what they were christened by some attending youth one year. They had finished an electronic publishing class and I said that maybe we could publish an electronic  how-to-host-a-rainbow-ball guide. One response was something like, “can we include the part about where we cry. a lot.?” I could only respond “yes”.  On the inside I was cringing. It is stressful and there are lots of details. Petrifying lots.  Each year there are new people to prepare to help who will carry the torch.  The work for the next Rainbow Ball Weekend starts when the first one ends.  What am I thinking by asking so much of these students? They know there is an enormous pay off though if just one of the youth who attends feels more comfortable in their own skin, feels more confident in who they are, and feels supported by a larger community. It is more than one youth though.  Some young people look forward to the ball all year.  It really isn’t about us, the events, the food, the housing, the music, the drama, the transportation, the decorating, the security, the communication, or the paperwork. It _is_ about the fellowship.  Did the student who mentioned that we cry a lot mean that we shouldn’t host the rainbow ball? Nah, just acknowledging that we’re going to host it even knowing there will be stress and sweat and we’re going to cry. a lot. They’re the heroes. Reread the warm fuzzy quotes, rinse, repeat.

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