This weekend we went to the Arkansas Young Democrats Convention which is held every year in April in Little Rock. It’s always great to gather all of the young Dems in one place, especially considering that most people involved in politics are much older (go to any meeting and you’ll see what I mean!).
After the drive down to Little Rock, I camped out in a Starbucks and got some work done and felt like a real freelancer. I mean, come on, obviously you’re not a real freelancer unless you’ve worked once in a coffee shop, right?
I will admit, working in a coffee shop might not be for me. It’s busy, there are people everywhere talking and being loud. If I really had to concentrate hard on the task at hand (like writing blog posts), it would be really difficult for me.
The next morning we started our session and had a lot of people come out. Almost all of them were new faces to me which means YD is continuing to grow and bring new people in! Fantastic.
One of the best parts of participating in politics in Arkansas is that you often get to eat lunch with famous people who can make lots of decisions on how you live your life. We were welcomed to lunch by Will Bond, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas, over BBQ sandwiches.
He welcomed Senator Mark Pyror to speak and Bill Halter, who is running for Governor, shortly thereafter. See what I mean? You can really just walk up to them and shake their hand and say “Well, Senator, I have this idea/problem/need. How can you help me?” and get an answer. Creating a relationship with elected officials is very easy in Arkansas if you dedicate the time to attend events where they will be speaking. All it takes is a hand shake and a smile.
After lunch we resumed our session for elections and awards. I was honored to be awarded the Woman of the Year! I’ve never received an award like this before so I immediately started tearing up and making a fool of myself in front of a bunch of 18 year olds who didn’t really know who I was, saying things like “Bring a friend next year!” I was brought to convention as a tag along friend four years ago and kept coming because it was fun. Unfortunately, I was working on a problem we had and didn’t even know I was getting the award until they called my name! I was sad I didn’t get to enjoy the speech about me and my accomplishments, blushing while someone extolled my virtues. But hey, just proves I’m dedicated to the cause by not paying attention and working hard instead!
While this isn’t really the place to go on and on about why YD is important, I’m happy that it’s a part of my life. It’s getting to the point where I’m one of the oldest people in the room, a time when most members start to age out of it. Awards make us want to impart some advice and I’d say this–Get involved and then bring a friend.
We’re super lucky in Arkansas to be able to just show up at an event and have access to elected officials, instead of having to dog their phones in their offices and be ignored when something is happening that we don’t like. Arkansas is a small state where politicians aren’t usually big wigs with lots of money. They’re our neighbors and friends. No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, if you care about the quality of your life and those around you, I urge you to pay attention to politics every once in a while instead of just at an election time. It matters more what happens between elections than during, let me tell you!