Localife Edmonton: Nothing to be nervous about

July 27, 2012

On July 27, Ashley and I hosted the kick-off event for the Edmonton Localife program, a backyard BBQ with what we could only describe as great success. We had a little bit of apprehension the night before, wondering if people would actually come, if the weather hold out, whether people would actually have a good time, or if it would be an awkward experience for all. When the day arrived, it was clear that the BBQ gods were looking kindly upon us; the sun was shinning and temperatures were in the perfect range between warm and hot.

Our guests began arriving shortly after 6:30 p.m., and we had seven survivors, three supporters, and Ashley and I. It was a great turnout, and a number which will surely increase for future events as we had several invites who were out of town or came down with a cold the day of.

As the night progressed, a great mix of conversation and laughter engulfed Ashley’s cozy backyard. Conversation topics ranged from recent and upcoming survivor oriented kayaking/rafting trips, to school, to pets, to treatment. While my proposed turkey-sausage eating contest did not take place, I have confidence that such a completion is still possible at one of our future events!

The pièce de résistance of the evening was most definitely the Dairy Queen Dilly Bars, the perfect summertime dessert. When the sun had disappeared, and darkness descended on our gathering, several uninvited guests arrived, and despite our best efforts to politely evade their presence, the only way to escape the plague of mosquitoes was to move the party inside which everyone did with lightning speed. With the new mosquito free environment, everyone was free to continue their conversations unimpeded by the constant swatting and scratching that comes with the cooler dusk temperatures.

Fuelled by a second helping of Dilly Bars, and in some cases a third and fourth, guests hung out well into the night, and as midnight approached, the numbers began to dwindle. The common sentiment at departure was “what a great time this was,” and “make sure you let me know when the next one happens!”

Shortly after everyone had left, Ashley and I took a break from cleaning up to discussed the evening. Everyone appeared to come in with a sense of excitement and there was a feeling of comfort and social effortlessness in the air. People drifted from one conversation to another and there was no hesitation to engage with anyone. When I left, we determined that this was a great jumping off point, and that building on the evening, our year will be the start of a strong community in the Edmonton area!

Great things are ready to happen in Edmonton for young adult survivors, and I’m very excited for the coming year!

-Dan

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