I feel like it has taken me so long to finally write this. Words cannot explain my experience at Ojai. I remember the day they called me down from AP english class. They showed us a video of a retreat and what it would be like. Then they asked us if were interested in going and told us it would be a life changing experience. Of course i didnt believe this. How could anyone change your life over a weekend? When we got to Ojai i didnt know what to think. It was a different environment for me. Growing up a city kid i had NEVER in life experienced life like i did in Ojai. The atmosphere was amazing. I could feel a spirit there that i did not know. Everyday we would embark on a new journey as a group. I’d only known about 4 of the 26 kids that went on the trip that weekend. During each of the councils i would just wait and listen for once in my life to what each person had to say. When the talking piece finally got to me i did not know what to say or even what to feel.
I remember sitting under the talking tree each day and having council. How quiet it was and how strongly the wind would blow. For one activity i remember sitting quietly and just listening to the wind. The wind always tells us stories and talks to us. The wind listens to what we have to say. The wind in Ojai was Dillon. I recall the last night at Ojai. It was unbelieveably cold that night. We were all huddled around in two circles with blankets. Seperated by gender but still joined together as one. During this council we had to speak about a person who we admire. I spoke about my mom openly for once in my life. Though we have been through many hardships she still continues to get us through each day. The wind that night would not stop howling and speaking. Each time a story was told we joined together to say AJO because it showed that we felt whatever that person was saying and that we were there for them. I felt Dillon’s spirit that night. His presence was well recognized that night. I will never forget
After taking the trip to Ojai i realized the changes in my life. Ojai gave me a new start and allowed me to understand the lives of others and connect with them in many ways that i never imagined. I will always cherish each moment in Ojai and remember each of those 26 kids and teachers and council members. The way we connected that weekend can never be replaced. It will always live in each of our hearts and so will Dillon. I just wish i could relive that weekend in Ojai with the same people before they go their separate ways. I’ll always remember that we have one life to live and we gotta live it to the fullest.
PAY IT FORWARD