Regardless of our age, some people find it easy to reach out to others and make connections, while others struggle. We’ve seen it with our kids, and we know it for ourselves too.
I read a blogpost from The Hands-Free Mama called, The Hands Who Want to Belong. She talked about that fear of not belonging that quite possibly, everyone has to some degree. While I read it, I thought about how this fear contributes to the problem! When we don’t set the fear aside and DO that thing that we really want to be able to do, we end up even more isolated.
And then it hit me like a bolt of lightening. My mind immediately went to conferences, places where large groups of people get together – some more comfortable than others. Conferences are full of people who are connecting well with others AND people who are feeling so incredibly disconnected. And I know that a lot of people who sign up sometimes don’t even make it to the conference, because they (gladly) accept whatever obstacle rears it’s head and wants attention.
“No, I can’t go after all, my kids need me at home.”
“No, I can’t go after all, I’m not feeling that well.”
“No, I can’t go after all… blah, blah, blah!”
Conference attendees fall into two different groups:
Group 1 LOVE conferences!
The idea of meeting the people they’ve only known virtually from blogs or social media is so exciting! They come back year after year, reconnecting with people they haven’t seen since the last conference. Or maybe they saw them at conferences in other states – because these folks adore connecting with people!
Group 2 like the IDEA of conferences.
But they get overwhelmed easily with larger groups. Or they’re afraid that everyone will know each other and they’ll be left to sit by themselves. As this date approaches, half of this group will have find some excuse for why they simply cannot attend. A piece of them kind of dreads the idea of going… or at least they dread that “left out” feeling.
I’ve been both.
That’s where the lightening bolt took me! What if we create something where we help these people that want more connection but, for whatever reason (and there are many), are struggling to make it happen?
In April, the Texas Unschoolers are gathering in New Braunfels for an annual conference. It’s a LOT of fun, and people really find awesome connections with each other that they may not have had if they hadn’t attended. Our family spent years criss-crossing the country going to various conferences. My kids made friends and rekindled friendships each year, when they’d see each other again. I want to help any family that’s looking for that kind of connection to find it!
So, here’s the plan! 🙂
People that are good at hosting parties and connecting people are encouraged to sign up as Mentors. People who identify with Group 1 (above), would fall into this category. If we have a lot of people willing, we’ll partner people up as Mentors to 4-5 people who need a little help. At least, that’s the number I’m hoping for. We’ll see. Each day, the Mentors will touch base, in person or via text, to see where the everyone is, what they’re planning for the day, etc. I have some fun ideas to help the Mentors reach out to their group. 🙂
People who are nervous about attending the conference, coming alone, or wish they had a little help with connecting, are in the second group. They identify more with Group 2 (above). These people may be new to unschooling, new to the conference, new to the area. They may have come before but wished they had a little more in common with people so they’d feel more connected.
Thus are the makings for the Tex’Uns Mentor Party!
When you complete the form, you’ll share some information that will help me match you up with someone (or someones!). Throughout the weekend, you’ll touch base with each other – and get to know the others in your group as well! Suddenly, everyone will know at LEAST 4-5 people there! Fun, right??