On Wednesday, I left after lunch for Kodiak. I was chaperoning two students on a trip to the spring AASG conference. AASG stands for Alaska Association of Student Governments. I was glad for the senior that was traveling with us, because she knew way more about what was going on than I did and she was patient with me and willing to offer help. I am completely new to student government this year and I had never traveled to Kodiak before. I had one senior and one freshman with me. Both girls were totally great. I would chaperone them again anytime. I hardly had to worry a bit.
Wednesday afternoon we flew into Dillingham and had about 4 hours to wait before leaving for Anchorage. We had flown over on a little Cessna plane (maximum capacity 7, including the pilot). It was nice that it was just the 3 of us flying over with the pilot. Normally, I get stuffed in the middle because I am the smallest out of the people I’m flying with. Last time I flew I was wedged in between two other adults, one of which was a state trooper and whose gun was pressing into my side, and the other who had her snow-suited baby with her and asked me to hold him. I myself was in my winter gear (you don’t travel in bush Alaska in the winter without boats, snow pants, coat, hat, and gloves). There wasn’t even room for my feet in the plane. I had them stacked up one on top of the other at a funny angle. Moral of the story is that I really appreciated having breathing room on the flight over to Dillingham.
I was a bit worried about keeping Sandi and Chelsey entertained for 4 hours in Dillingham. We ended up walking to the beach (which is currently covered in icebergs) and just watching the water and the icebergs for a couple hours. The girls were completely content and I was too. We talked and laughed and threw snowballs at different targets. Sandi discovered that my lack of ability to shoot a basket extends to my snowball throwing skills as well.
We finally left Dillingham, flew to King Salmon, then to Anchorage, and finally landed in Kodiak just before 11:00 pm. On our flight from King Salmon to Anchorage Pat Manning was on the plane. He is a member of our branch. Tim serves with him in the Elder’s quorum presidency and I serve with his wife in the primary presidency. It’s really fun when we get an opportunity to see a fellow branch member in person and get to visit with them. Normally, I wouldn’t even recognize a branch member by looking at them, but I had met Pat last summer in Anchorage.
We stayed in the school while we were in Kodiak. I had never heard of doing such a thing until coming to Alaska, but it is completely commonplace for traveling students to sleep in the school that they are visiting.
Thursday and Friday were packed full of meetings and workshops. Thursday morning Sandi, Chelsey and I went hiking before our meetings started at 10:30 am. The meetings continued until 10:00 pm that night. Friday we were scheduled from 7:00 am-10:30 pm and then had a dance after all those meetings. I’m not sure how the kids kept it up. As an advisor, I was asked to take a back seat. I was to be there in case I was needed, but I was pretty much to stay out of things and let the kids run the show. By the end of the day I was exhausted. I’m sure all the students were even more exhausted.
Friday night the girls from my district wanted to go to Subway instead of going to the dance. They were dropping hints and asking if I would take them to Subway, but their voices didn’t really sound too hopeful. (Subway is a big deal to those of us who live in the bush. There is no such thing as fast food or any restaurants of any sort in Togiak.) To their knowledge, I wasn’t really paying much attention to their pleas because I kept right on working on my computer. In reality, I was looking up the address and phone number of Subway to find out where it was and when they closed. Finally, I looked up and said, “well they close in 20 minutes and it’s a ½ mile walk so we better hurry.” Off we went, running through the night to Subway. This earned me the “coolest chaperone ever” designation from Sandi. I guess that’s good since she was informing me earlier that day about what a boring life I led because I don’t drink energy drinks and wasn’t aware of most the songs she liked to listen to. (I will admit I am extremely media illiterate and sometimes I shock myself at how much I don’t know.)
The conference and meetings continued on Saturday until 5:00 pm. However, we had to catch our plane at 11:10 am, so we missed most of the meetings. I was sorry we had to leave early, but I was excited to be going home. I learned a lot by watching the conference. The students wrote resolutions, discussed and debated them, amended them, and voted on them. The resolutions that passed will be sent to the appropriate place for further consideration or implementation such as specific school boards or the state legislator. I don’t know how many other states have something like this, but the students in Alaska really do have an opportunity to voice their opinions.
Saturday we had a 5-hour layover in Anchorage so I rented a car. I knew that Sandi and Chelsey would like to go shopping, and frankly, I wanted to go shopping too. We went to two malls, Wal-mart, and a Chinese buffet before heading back to the airport. We then flew to Dillingham and then into Togiak before 7:00 pm. I was extremely grateful that we were able to fly home on Saturday and not Sunday. I needed a day before starting the new week.