Hey, what is up you guys! My name is Conner, and welcome to my first ever Generation Free blog post. Wow! This is exciting. During my three years on the Generation Free Youth Advisory Board, this is the first time we have ever had a blog, pretty cool, right? Well, I’ll leave that up to you to decide. Anyway, before I get into all the crazy things that happened at the YAB retreat this August, let me tell you a little bit about myself.
Aww where to begin. Well, first of all my name is Conner, if you hadn’t already figure that out. I am 16 years old and a junior at Long Beach High School (go Bearcats!). I know what most of you are probably thinking. “Junior year is really tough; how do you have time to write this blog post?” Well even though junior year is tough and ,yes, sometimes I cry myself to sleep at night (Don’t tell anyone)- I thought it was really important for me to let you know a little bit about what an amazing(not), talented(not), and funny(not) person that I am.
So you know where I go to school and some of my amazing qualities but what makes me…me? In other words, “What do I do?” Well, I am involved in so many different clubs at my school I think my head might explode. Let me just name a few: I am president of my Frontline Club (an anti-drug and alcohol club – “In the war on drugs, will you be on the Frontline?” – Yah!), President of our Generation Free team, hopefully the Vice-President of Spanish National Honors Society, a member of NHS, Junior Civitan, After School Theatre, Bearcat Players, Co-Op, Mu Alpha Theta, Mock Trial, and Beta Club. I am also a member of the amazing Generation Free Youth Advisory Board, and I sit on the Board for the Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition of Harrison County for both the general board and youth board. Along with all of these organizations, academics are extremely important to me. In fact, I have thrown myself into my grades sheading buckets full of blood, sweat, and tears. Whenever I do have free time, however, I love to act! I have been in numerous plays, and I hope that maybe one day I’ll be on TV, but until then I’ll just stick to becoming an anesthesiologist. Now… to the fun part with what went down at the YAB retreat!
The day was August 12, 2017, a day like no other. The day started just like any other day with my usual round of morning crying, questing everything about my life, and thoughts of what life would be like if I just went and worked at McDonald’s. You know, normal stuff. After I finished getting ready, it was time to head out. I had woken up a few minutes before I was supposed to be in the conference room for a few reasons. First, I felt like my usual morning contemplations were going to take longer than normal, and second, so I could get some STARBUCKS in my system. After I had gotten my Starbucks (Venti-Black Iced coffee sweetened if anyone wants to grab me one), I headed to the conference room.
I was the first one to show up, great! Honestly, I was really worried to meet everyone. Truth be told, I get nervous meeting new people, and this year was completely different because we had a new lady running Generation Free named Michelle Borho. When I first walked into the room, I saw Michelle sitting at a table DECORATING the room… something I had never seen done before at a Gen Free retreat. I started to walk up to her, and she immediately jumped out of her seat and hugged me. Long story short, she’s a pretty cool YAB mom!
After the introductions, we started working on this upcoming year for Generation Free. We had a really cool lady come all the way from California just to train us on how to take down big tobacco, and also how we can motivate others to join the fight. After we learned all about taking down tobacco, we went into planning. We really wanted to make sure that all the events we planned were super fun and interesting, so we spent most of the day planning. We only took a small break in the evening to go grab some pizza and jump around on some trampolines until all of us almost threw up! But, we had s’more’s afterword’s which made up for all of it.
That night, we heard from a former YAB member and one of my personal friends, Bryce Moore. Bryce told us all about his story and how he motivates himself to become a bigger and better advocate. The next day, we finished planning all of our LEAD summits and then it was time to go. I had a really great time getting to meet everyone at the retreat and honestly, I think now we have all become a family. I can’t wait to meet all of you and travel the state spreading the word on how to take down big tobacco.
P.S: Don’t forget to follow me on social media:
Facebook: @ Conner Thurtell
Youtube: @ youtube.com/connerthurtell
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