High Low Glitter: Enhancing a North Carolina Tradition

CONA-group

by James Farnsworth

Editors note: High Low Glitter was originally created by a mom for her family. Since sharing the High Low Glitter platform with the world, we have been surprised and delighted by the different ways people are using High Low Glitter to reflect and connect. We found James’ story particularly compelling and asked him to share it with all of us. 

Minnesota Youth in Government is a youth development and leadership program run through the YMCA of The Greater Twin Cities and local school delegations across the state of Minnesota. Every year, a group of 25 delegates representing MN attend a national conference in Black Mountain, North Carolina, called the YMCA Conference on National Affairs (commonly referred to as CONA). This year, I returned to the mountain as a delegate for my second year, along with 24 wonder people from all over the state.

Most of the people who were part of our group I had known for a while, while some were a bit more unfamiliar. After our 26 hour bus ride from Minnesota to North Carolina, the conference begins. Students who’ve attended previously automatically run off to see their friend from other states, and the hecticness of conference life and responsibilities fully kick in. All the bonding that happens within the Minnesota group gets put on the backburner and the focus turns to meeting people from other states and other delegations.

Every night, we have something called a delegation meeting where we all come together and debrief the day’s events. There is a specific student that gets selected ahead of time to be the delegation meeting leader, which holds the main job of figuring out how these meetings are ran and what the group does as a whole. The first night at the conference, we did a rendition of “rose, bud, and thorn” (bud being something that you’re looking forward to the next day.) I always enjoy activities that get people talking about the day in a different way, so I had a good time doing it. As I participated in the sharing and observed everyone around me really enjoy the opportunity to get to share about their day and their experiences, I knew right away that High Low Glitter was something I had to mention as a fun alternative that the group might want to try at some point.

The next evening when we all gathered for our second delegation meeting, I suggested to the meeting leader that we try using High Low Glitter as a way of reflecting. Once I explained what “glitter” meant (an unexpected moment from your day), we went ahead and tried it. I was truly amazed at what unfolded in-front of me. People seemed not only more excited to share stories and moments from the day, however the concept of sharing your “glitter” really seemed to be received well. As opposed to looking ahead to the next day, sharing a glitter gave us the opportunity to share the highlighted, positive, life-changing moments that happened during the conference.

Jack Coborn Ellis, a 12th grader from Orono High School had this to say about his experience using High Low Glitter: “Using High Low Glitter was a truly unique experience for me. There’s something about sharing and debriefing the day using High Low Glitter that encouraged meaningful connecting and deeper bonding between myself and other members of the Minnesota delegation.”

Ever since that night, we continued to use High Low Glitter throughout the rest of the trip to share stories and talk about the connections we made with other students from all across the United States. When we returned from the conference, the use of High Low Glitter by members of the group continued.

“The other day at dance, I used High Low Glitter with a group of freshman girls that I mentor as part of our week of leadership training,” said Carly Fredericks, a 12th grader at Lakeville North High School.

Bottom line: High Low Glitter had an incredible impact on our group and our experience on this trip. And since the conference, my friends are taking the magic of meaningful connections to other places in their life. It’s amazing.

james-farnsworth

James Farnsworth is currently a junior at Highland Park Senior High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He is very involved in Minnesota YMCA Youth in Government among many other activities. When not at school or work, he enjoys the culinary arts, watching reality TV, and catching up on current events via Twitter. 

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