Finally in the process of migrating posts from my old blogs:
I enjoy YSA Conventions. Also known as YSA conferences (or to some, multi-day meat markets), hundreds of Mormons from all over flee their usual weekend routine for a ticket to meet and mingle with peers. But mostly it’s another opportunity to suss out potentials and find your own true mate.
Because we are that marriage mad.
Conventions are dotted across the year in England. Peppered with dances, food, group activities like ice skating, bowling, workshops, scavenger hunts and my personal favourite, laser tag, plus a YSA ward Sunday with a testimony meeting. While it can come off as summer camp condensed in a weekend for 18-30 year olds, it is an excellent way to spend time with friends, make new friends and maybe become more than friends with one. In other words, convention is life catalysed and what happens, that’s all down to you.
Here’s an non-exhaustive guide on surviving a YSA convention. May it prove useful and double up as a how to win at life.
Seriously if you squint sideways, you could totally see where I’m coming from.
1. PREPARATION IS KEY
A standard convention kit includes toiletries, changes of clothes, bedding/sleeping bag and a towel. This includes medication you need, scriptures, a camera, GPS but all that and more fits in a phone so…Learn to define want from need. You may want to bring three pairs of high heels, but you need to bring a toothbrush.
Unless you’ve booked your own accommodation, provided accommodation is a lottery. You could get a bed and a room of your own in a stately home. You could get floorspace with pizza provided by the family you’re staying. Or you could end up in a scout hut. Best to be prepared in all cases, bring something to sleep in. Not the car.
2. SAVE THE INSTRUCTIONS
Reading the instructions is all fine and dandy, but unless you have an eidetic memory, take a photo of the agenda.
If you need to take a car somewhere for an activity, keep a note of the postcode.
If you’re staying at a member’s home, check beforehand their address and contact details are correct as soon as you can. You do not want to be the last one in the church parking lot and end up knocking on all the wrong houses at midnight, telling them: ‘We’re here…Were you expecting us?’
3. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE
As it goes, the hosts of a convention will provide meals. In my experience, it’s ranged from Subway lunches, a pig roast, fancy fish and chips to quiche, etc.. This often includes a 500ml bottle of water in one meal or more. However during one convention, there were no bottles of water and buying was not an option. I was stuck in bed with a horrid, horrid headache and missed out.
Do your body a favour and drink a lot of water. Future You will thank you for it.
4. BE COURTEOUS
Those hosting a convention have put in a lot of effort in making this happen, sometimes there will be hiccups and whining about it doesn’t help. Be patient. Be polite. Be kind. When all else fails, just smile, even when you don’t want to. Actually when even that doesn’t work, just flirt it out. It can provide much and many amusement.
Again if you’re staying at a member’s house, remember that their lives do not revolve around you. Staying out late with your mates may be fun until you realise the door is locked and learn the family you’re staying with can sleep through a thunderstorm.
Save a night or two sleeping in the car by remembering it’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.
5. SLEEP IS ESSENTIAL…
Sleeping 8 hours a night at convention is like a convention with no peacocks. It rarely ever happens, unless you’re suffering from a migraine and sleep is your only reprieve.
A bit of yoga before bed helps you into a restful sleep. I encourage siestas, meditation and yoga where you can fit it in. The Legs-up-the-Wall yoga pose or Viparita Karani saved me from long layovers at an airport. If you’re going to use this at convention, it’s probably best to find a quiet room where people don’t disrupt you and you shield laymen from your otherworldly coolness.
6. FOLLOW THROUGH
I struggle with keeping in touch, but it is something I’m slowly but surely learning to do. Guys when you meet a nice girl, follow through. Girls when you meet a nice guy, follow through. Don’t be lame. Ask them on a date. Go on that first date and have fun. Don’t overthink it, it’s a first date.
Literally the future of the human race depends on men and women following through. And if it doesn’t work, this just means you’re one step closer to finding the right person as you strive to be the right person too.
7. INPUT EQUALS OUTPUT
Conventions are not everybody’s cup of tea, but I insist that it’s something you have to try. Be open to try new things. Be that person who strikes up a conversation with someone you’ve never met. Decide now whether or not you’re sorted in the same group/house/activity as your friends, you will do your best and have a great time.
8. CHALLENGE YOURSELF
One convention we struck up challenges. One was to attempt people in believing the most awkward profession, I think I won that. I don’t need to tell you just how awkward it was but I won. Another was dancing outrageously behind someone without their knowledge, it was ridiculous. But to top it all off, my favourite has to be when a friend of mine quoted Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give Up at a testimony meeting without anyone realising but me. It was glorious.
Don’t be a creep!
Set up a challenge for you and your friends. Go forth and have fun.
Do you have any tips and tricks to share? Any convention life hacks? I’d love to know.
Until next time, amping kanunay!