Planning for Generate 2015 is well underway.  Our team is very proud of our Youth Education Summits and have been lucky enough to meet and spend time with the inspiring students and teachers who attend these opportunities.

But sometimes we are fortunate to be reminded of just how much these experiences impact the participants. Shortly after Navigate 2014, a letter from a student named Maryam came across our desks.

All of us at Inside Education were so moved by this letter (there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!) that we keep it close by as a reminder of why our work matters.

Allow us to share Maryam’s words with you…

Exactly a week ago from right now, I was in a vehicle along with Mrs. Cumberland, Mr. Jenkins, Lee, Chandelle and Sherry on our way to Banff to Navig8. Since moving to Edmonton  2 1/2 years ago, I had never been to a city other than Edmonton. I hadn’t been on that long of a road trip, and forget staying at a place like the Banff Centre- I had never even slept in a hotel before. 

Exactly one week ago today, as we got closer and closer to the mountains, I couldn’t help to cry softly, for they were sending me a reminder that the world is so much bigger than the piece of it I see every day. 

Exactly one week ago today, after several stops to buy supplies for our “jellyfish,” we drove into the Banff Centre, and I was going to begin the most life changing weekend of my entire life. 

And just one week- seven days ago- I dove into water literacy, met new friends, connected with the speakers and learned so much about myself. I had the greatest time that weekend. 

One week ago this weekend will mark the day I realized I didn’t want to point fingers of blame, I didn’t want to do nothing, that nature was beautiful, that there existed a table where people are finding solutions, and that I wanted to sit at that table. For the rest of my life. 

One week ago this weekend I was trying to figure out how my room card worked, gazing out into the beautiful scenery at Vistas Dining Hall, saying hello to the staff and giggling with Sherry like little schoolgirls in our hotel room.

One week ago this weekend I was running around the Banff Centre trying to answer all the questions as we “geocached.”

And spilling water all over my face as we did the different activities regarding water availability, or jotting down endless notes for each and every speaker and asking questions.  

Or rocking out to Mindil Beach Markets, and eating dinner with them!

A week ago Saturday we all hopped onto buses and had a great dinner and dance! I was nervous, but eventually warmed up to it, even leading the train we had made! 

And before then…way before then, I was meeting you for the first time on Skype, after several failed attempts, nervous but excited.

And now, I am planning a water literacy project with the team. And next year I (God willing) will be studying engineering with the goal of become a water resource engineer. And today, today I am writing you this email. Because you deserve it, the staff at Navig8 deserve it, and Inside Education deserves it. Because it is all of you (and our sponsors) that make this experience possible. And no amount of words, no matter how many I write, will ever be able to express how grateful I am.

So thank you, thank for doing this. 

For it is an understatement when I say it had meant the world to me. 


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