It was about halfway through the afternoon on Monday, July 27th, 2015 when our vehicle took the turn into Geneva Park. As soon as that turn happened my mood instantly changed and a smile emerged onto my face. We were driving through and my mind began to wander, driving past several landmarks and points that would bring back good memories from previous years, I took a deep sigh and thought to myself “I’m home”.
There were two new members with us this year and they seemed quite nervous the whole ride up. This being my third year at Disable the Label and seeing how much it has changed my life, I was so eager to explain how much The New Mentality and Disable the Label has meant to me and that they don’t have to worry about a single thing. As I was explaining it to them the smile never left my face and the more and more I began to explain it to them I noticed that they were beginning to become less nervous and more comfortable with the situation which made me really happy.
We went in to the registration building to figure out where we would be staying and we didn’t even make it to the desk before I was bombarded with hugs from good friends that I have met through previous Disable the Label camps. It was like one of those scenes that you would see in a movie, I just dropped my bags and we all like ran and hugged each other, it was absolutely amazing!
The thing that I love the most about Disable the Label is the people and the environment while you’re there. Some people I’ve only met three or four times and others this would of been the first year that I met them. But either way this community is like a family to me, they are people that I can trust and people that I can count on. But more importantly, the kind of people that I can be myself around. I personally find it very difficult to get comfortable around people and trust them, even if I’ve known the person for a long time. But whenever I go to a New Mentality event or a Disable the Label conference, all of that completely goes away. For the first time in my life I’ve found a community that doesn’t judge me, doesn’t bully me, and just accepts me for who I am. Most of these people I’ve only met a few times and I feel that I can just be myself and speak my mind. Which is absolutely unheard of for me, so I think it’s really great that there is a place that I know that I will always have and friendships that will last a life time.
Over the course of the four days at Disable the Label this year we learned very valuable skills that we were able to take back to our communities, such as:
– Public Speaking Skills
– Event Planning
– Youth Engagement
– Spreading Awareness
– How can we Help Ourselves (Selfcare)
– How we can Help People who are Struggling
– How can we Help our Communities
– The Differences of Positive and Negative Coping
– And so much more!
As always The New Mentality has yet again put on an amazing performance at this year’s Disable the Label, overall this has been the best one yet. If I were to be asked on a favourite moment at Disable the Label 2015 I wouldn’t be able to choose, that’s how good it was this year! Whether it was the World Café hosted by The New Mentality, Spoken N’ Heard’s amazing event planning session, the campfire, the Talent Not Required Show, or the endless nights that I would stay up talking with new and old friends. These were a few of all of the amazing memories that I had of this retreat.
The New Mentality has made a huge difference in my life and I don’t know where I’d be today if I was never introduced to this organization. This community has transformed me to become into a stronger and more confident individual. I believe it is truly amazing on what The New Mentality has done. The fact that there hundreds of youth just like me, who want to make a difference in their communities, make changes, and spread awareness is just amazing. The amount of people’s lives that The New Mentality has changed is huge; just imagine the amount of lives each individual is changing because of this organization.
A huge thank you to all of the Hosting Team, Jermaine, Caitlin, Amanda, Deserae, Peter, Vanessa, Victoria, Violetta, Gerard, & of course Jasmine, Mary-Anne, and Caralyn from The New Mentality for putting this all together and making it such a empowering and life-changing experience for everyone. Within the next stages of our lives there will be huge changes in our society because of the work we are all doing, so keep doing what you are doing everyone. We are all making a huge difference in our communities. Remember to #Selfcare everyone and I’ll hopefully see you next year at Disable the Label 2016. One Love <3