Generating Radical Kinship: WLI 2017

This past weekend on President’s Day was the 2nd Rooted In Community Winter Leadership Institute held in Boston/Sandwich, MA at Camp Burgess from Friday February 17th-Monday February 20th. The format was a mix of pre-planned workshops and open space time. The goal of the Winter Leadership Institute was to give adults that work with youth an opportunity to share experiences, get questions answered, and build relationships. RIC defines “adult” based on the leadership role that they have – not based on age. This training was specifically for people who lead youth programs for their organization and not for program participants (even if they are 18 or over).

Once people got to camp a few people had arrived by car and the first batch of folks were dropped off by Ari Rosenberg. Ayisah Yusuf helped everyone with registration and had them make name tags. She did that through out the day as John Wang and folks finished dinner. Later more and more people came in until dinner was ready. That night we had Indian food with our Kale Paneer, Bangnan Bharta, Dal, Curry Chicken, Roasted Cauliflower, Conchigle, Peas & Chile, Cucumbers and Raita, Spinach, Date, Onion Salad, and Steamed Rice with Coconut Milk Rice Pudding for dinner which was so delicious.

After dinner Travis McKenzie did the opening blessing while Ayisah passed around some sweet grass to cleanse the space. Then she did a little bit of an opening on what RIC is and then we played some cool ice breakers like Move Your But (a game where a person is in the middle of a circle and then they “move your but if…” and we say a true statement that applies to us and if it applies to you too you get up out of your seat and have to find a different seat and who ever ends up in the middle it’s there turn), The Biggest Fan (a giant game of rock, paper, scissors but when you loose you become a hype person for the person you lost to until the last two people stand) and Elbows to Elbows (a game were you mingle with folks while music is playing until the music stops then you grab a partner you don’t know and then you link a body part together like elbow to your partners elbow while a question is asked and you and your partner answer the questions). In between ice beakers we had people share a little intro about themselves and then once we were done we helped to create some safe space agreements which are really important in spaces like this when touchy subjects can come up. Once we were finished with our opening we all went to bed in our cabins which were pretty nice.

The next day we got up some folks did yoga with Charlyn and ate breakfast which was oatmeal, bagels & cold cereal before our first workshop started. Before starting we had someone do a cultural offering then the first workshop started which was called Larger Movement Buildings where we explored what the monster is, where it was and where it is going. Starting off the workshop we did a quick check in with Travis’s chili where we passed it around the circle and said a one word check in on how we are feeling. Once the workshop started we went over the group agreements and then looked at a couple quotes that would frame our discussion of the workshop.

Once we analyzed these quotes we went over what we think the monster is and how it makes us feel. We broke up into groups based on the monster of the past, present and future then did a free write where we combined our writings with sound and movement and then shared them with the group. Once we were finished with this workshop lead by Beatriz Beckford we had a quick break, and an energizer led by Wade from GRUB and then John and Ayisah did our workshop.

The purpose of their workshop called Building Power & Intersectionality was we wanted to get some feedback from the folks that are doing the work across the country to help inform how we can best leverage the resource of this national network of young people to support food justice work across the country. We started off with people in the room reading the history of RIC and then I tried to explain it a little bit more and why she come to RIC. John then went over the proposal for their RIC regional structure and then had folks in the room get into groups and take a look at it and see if they liked it, would change it, how they wanted to see it, ect. Basically we had set it up as regions and then having a fellowship program were we split it up quarterly. Each quarter the fellows and adult ally would meet twice by video and one in person (or more if needed) in their region and then nationally each quarter the adult ally and fellows would meet at a RIC event or an event in their region. At the Rooted In Community Summer Summit the youth from each region would get to meet each other and also see what others are up too.

Other cool things that they thought of that the regions can do is newsletters/zines, helping with the national conference work & regional conference work, contributing to the toolshed, sharing local actions and do some fundraising.

Most people had trouble with with this proposal was the fact that a lot of folks were new to RIC and this was their first time being at one of our gatherings so They just need a little bit more information about who we are and what we do. We got a lot of great feedback from the participants. After our workshop it was lunch which was catered by Fresh Food Generation which is a food truck company run by two former Food Project (a national model for youth development and sustainable agriculture) youth.

Following lunch we went over to one of the bigger cabins to do our next workshop. This workshop was also facilitated by Beatriz Beckford with some help from the RICocracy members Ari, Travis and John as well.

To start off this workshop as a group we went over our group agreements we had done the night before with a few other agreements thrown in. Afterwords individually we went over to these definitions of different kinds of oppression that came from this Anti-Oppression Reader by Global Exchange that Ari and Beatriz wrote up on butcher paper. These definitions where flawed in most cases and we were suppose to look at them over and see what worked or what we thought needed to change and then write what we would put as the definition of this word.

After we had a discussion on what these definitions meant to us then we did this activity that Ari lead that she learned from Erika Allen where in each corner of the room she put a piece of paper that said White, POC or Mixed. Depending on where your organization falls with in the spectrum you would go to one corner or another. She asked what good questions of us like who do you serve?, the make up of your staff is? and who are the decision makers? A lot of people when who do you serve was asked it was mostly POC but when it came to the make up of your staff and who are the decision makers it was mostly white. Once we finished that we got into groups to discuss this activity and to see how our organizations run on the Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist Multicultural Organization scale.

Following that activity Beatriz, Ari and Travis facilitated this very fun activity called the Fish Bowl. A small group of people (as many as half the circle) arrange themselves in a circle in the center of a room. This small group will conduct a discussion together while the rest of the folks watch, take notes, and later pose questions and give comments about what they observed. The facilitator can be part of either the inner “fishbowl” circle or the outer circle. To begin, facilitators might select people for the fishbowl who are fairly skilled at group discussion — or might deliberately choose one or two who are new to it so that the fishbowl doesn’t seem too “perfect” for those who are observing. Once the group is established, the facilitator should set some ground rules. These guidelines ensure that group members practice particular discussion skills, such as taking turns, building upon a previous person’s comments, and asking questions to extend thinking. Ground rules might include: People should only state supported ideas, agree with a speaker and add supporting information, disagree with a speaker and offer refuting information, or connect contributions. No one may interrupt a speaker. No one may speak a second time until everyone has had a chance.

The guidelines for the outside circle may include listening quietly, taking notes on discussion skills, and noting nonverbal communication. Each “outside” student might be assigned an “inside” student to observe specifically, or the “outside” students can be asked to observe everyone. In general, the silent, observing students attend to aspects of group discussion that generally aren’t noticed in classroom discussions. To begin the discussion, the facilitatoroffers an open-ended question, and the fishbowl group discusses it. People might initially be self-conscious as part of the group “on stage,” but they generally grow comfortable as the conversation flows. Now the way we did it was that people on the outside could tap people in the fishbowl if they had something to add to the conversation. We also through in some wild cards where who ever was givin a card could go into the fishbowl and change the topic of the conversation. The point that the group was suppose to get out of this activity was to get each other mad about the topics and stir up emotion.

Later once this activity was over we did one last activity that day called the Graph Activity. Basically it’s like that typical activity where you stand on the line if the question applies to you. The difference in this one was that there was two lines going vertically and horizontally the floor and on horizontally sides of the room there were signs that said would do and wouldn’t do and on the vertical side the signs said effective and ineffective. Questions like wither voting or using your body as a blockade is something people would do or not do and if they think it’s effective or not.

The best part of the day was an activity called taps. Taps is were you have half of the group sitting down and the other half behind them. The group sitting down has their eyes closed and the facilitator asks questions of the people standing up and then they have to tap the people who apply to this. Questions such as tap the person if they pushed you today or tap the person if they taught you something today then you go down the line of people and tap their shoulder if that applied to them. Once all the questions were done then we switched. The best part of this activity was some people were giving messages when they went down the line which felt great. It was awesome to this and feel the love of others and feel you were appreciated.

Next was free time before dinner which was catered by the local YMCA which so was breakfast and lunch on Sunday. After dinner people went to start a bonfire outside by the cabins and The Food Project brought s’mores making stuff. Brotha Rob showed a documentary that his friend made while he was in Standing Rock. It was a really well done documentary just under 30 mins.

A lot of amazing music happen with Travis who brought his instruments like his flutes and melodica along. People also played these big trash cans as drums and others spit dope rhymes.

In the morning some people went to do yoga with Rebekah and then went to have breakfast which was waffles. Thereafter we went into the room we were in yesterday had a person give a cultural offering and then did our group commitments. Travis lead this and brought up our commitments or Kuleana that we did with our Hawaiian family at the summit in Olympia. There were a lot of amazing commitments said and the RIC folks were the last to do ours. Later once our commitments were done then people went into their workshops. On Sunday the participants facilitated different workshop conversations on all different kinds of topics.

Sadly after the first workshop it was time for Beatriz, Travis and Roy to leave after lunch so we said our goodbye and took a group picture outside in the snow as well as spelled RIC with our bodies in the snow as Daquan Washington who brought his drone with him and filmed us waving to the camera.

Following dinner we were suppose to have a BAM BAM or Talent Show/Dance Party but nothing really came of that until we went to the bonfire down by the lake which was so much fun. Like the prier night incredible music and rhymes came out of the night as well as amazing conversation.

The last meal we had was Congee a Chinese breakfast dish. John who is Chinese showed us how to make it with Furikake, Tamari, Bean Paste, Sambal, Fried Shallots, Cilantro, Scallions, and a Soft Boiled Egg on top of it all with soy sauce. It’s a very good dish. After breakfast we did our closing ceremony where we had someone in the group give a cultural offering and then John had everyone give a quick report back from the workshops on Sunday. I sounded like people had really great conversations on their topics. Next John and Ari went over the RIC Toolshed. This website is a resource provided by RIC to facilitate lesson, program, and resource sharing. Any RIC member can submit a lesson and make it available to other members. Here you can search for that perfect food justice lesson for your group or submit that stellar lesson that you just created.  You can share that website that gave you inspiration and guidance and check out where others got theirs.

It was then Ayisah’s turn to explain the pros and grows process and split people into small groups. Pros and Grows are basically a list of things people liked about the gathering and things they didn’t like or would have changed. Once we did a report back we then did our famous RIC spiral hug. One of people’s favorite parts of the gathering was the seed/swag swap. People brought seeds from all over and as plant people everyone was so excited to go plant these seeds. There was also some really awesome swag as well including t-shirts, hats, buttons, you name it. Once that was over it was time for people to get ready to leave and the two shuttles got ready to take everyone to the airport and train station.

Everyone had an amazing time and learned a lot this weekend and are excited for the 2017 summer summit in Greensboro, NC.

Rooted In Community 2016: Olympia, Washington #RIC2016 #OfftheRICterscale #OlympiaRIC #GRuBLife #StoptheOilTrains

Last week was the 18th Annual Rooted In Community National Youth Food Justice Leadership Summit. This summer GRuB hosted this year who are out of Olympia, Washington and always bring it every year they attend. This year marks the 12 year anniversary of GRuB hosting RIC back in 2004 so it was about time we collaborated again.

GRuB stands for Garden Raised Urban Bounty. Through their GRuB in the Schools Initiative, disengaged and/or low-income students earn credits while learning about and contributing to their local food systems. They focus on the themes of Farming Self (personal development), Farming Land (sustainable land stewardship), & Farming Community (civic engagement & community service). They also engage PreK-12 youth in hands-on learning about soil, plants, food, and community through field trips to our farm.  They help them explore the question, “Where does our food come from?”

GRuB also has this dope youth program where they for over 15 years, has been running agriculture-based alternative education, employment, & drop-out prevention programs
that engage local teens in land & community-based projects, working to break cycles of hunger, poverty, inequality, and oppression. Youth steward their 2-acre urban farm, growing 10,000 pounds of vegetables for the food bank, CSA & Marketstand, and their own families.

Executive Director Katie Rains and Wade Arnold who is head of the GRuB youth program helped plan this summit with the RIC national team. Wade started out as a GRuB youth back in the day and came to his first RIC summit. Then GRuB came back in 2012 and in 2013 LA summit two GRuB youth Mallorie and Dayquan came led by Kerensa Mabwa and made my 2013. Wade started coming back to RIC in 2014 in New Mexico. Katie became the executive director of GRuB in 2015 taking over for Kim Gaffi who co-founded GRuB and ran it for 12 years. Katie came to RIC in Detroit that same year.

This year over 100 + people & 30 orgs came to RIC and there where a lot of new orgs that came too. There were a few groups that came and brought an international crew one of them was the International Rescue Center which has many offices across the country. They brought people from the Congo, Syria, Guatemala, Korea and other places who all live in the US now. There where also some people from Victoria, Canada & Hawaii who came.

So the first day of the summit orgs got in and registered then rested, went to the beach and ate dinner. Then after dinner we all went to the long house for our opening ceremony.

Our opening started with a Native elder Laura from the Evergreen University which we were staying at welcomed us to the campus and the long house. She then told us the history of the long house and its relationship to the school. Next we had our music for the evening was the Mazi Gazi Band who does Afro-Beat music. She had the place rockin! Everyone was up on their feet getting down especially Travis who hosted the 2014 RIC summit in New Mexico. It was a lot of fun. The last thing of the night was Gera Marin part of the RICocracy board giving us a four directions blessings for all our relations. He sang and drummed with some of the youth and had me go around and smuge everyone. ThenJoaquin Martinez who came to RIC back in 2011 in Philly and helped to frame and create the Youth Food Bill of Rights, gave a super dope poem to close out the night. That night as Joaquin, Gera, Travis and myself were walking back from the long house we all say a beautiful deer family on campus go by. It was magical.

Thursday started off with breakfast brought by GRuB and we went to the long house for an opening flute blessing by Travis McKenzie. Once he was done Ayisah Yusuf did a check in and asked who had been to RIC before and who's first time was it coming to RIC. She then had the RIC alums explain why they come to RIC each year and why they come back. After that Travis led the youth in some community intention building and had everyone get into groups and then had them do share backs. A favorite agreement was don't be too cool which deminstarted by playing Drake's Hotline Bling.

Once finished we went into our youth led workshops. This year their where many different ones from Travis's on the power of acequias with his youth from the New Mexico Acequia Association and Sembrando Semillas to Berkeley vs. Big Soda led by the Ecology Center who in 2014 Berkeley signed into law the nations first soda tax which the youth helped to get into law. Another workshop was done by Community Services Unlimited who shared dishes that people grew up with & the IRC did a healthy cooking demonstration.

The next set of workshops one was lead by the Hawaiians from Ma'o Organic Farms on Waiʻanae. Other workshops where Food System Chain Game done by Windy City Harvest, Spreading Your Roots by DIG, and Rooted in Respect done by the Victoria Sexual Assault Center.

After workshops we went into lunch. The afternoon was spent first learning more about our field trips we would be taking the next day then Lennee a local poet recited a poem on GRuB. We transitioned to our art and activism workshops next which we used a ways to get ready for our day of action. Some of those workshops where Gera's workshop on different ways of direct action which was orginally going to done by another RICocracy member Beatriz Beckford but she couldn't make to RIC so Gera stepped in. Others where using hip-hop and spoken word in social justice, making music and chants and banner and sign making. During the direct action workshop they came up with a skit to do during the day of action. They centered our skit on the cattle business and the oil trains and how easily the government is convented by money.

Free time was next and after was dinner and then we watched this documentary on the oil trains and rez life on the Swinomish reservation called March Point. The documentary was about three boys who were getting into some trouble with drugs and alchohol and needed to go to rehab. Once they got out they were tasked to make a video as their community service and decided to make a environmental documentary about their rez.

MARCH POINT filmmakers Tracy Rector and Annie Silverstein bring together filmmaking and alternative education through their collaboration with the three young Native Americans. The film assignment sends the boys down a path of historical investigation. Like many young people, Travis, Nick and Cody didn’t know much about their ancestors’ history. By interviewing tribal elders, they learn that most of their land was taken away by the federal government in the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1855, leaving the Swinomish with basic health care, some fishing rights and a small reservation. President Ulysses S. Grant took more land in 1870, a move the tribe considers illegal. Grappling with their assignment through humor, sarcasm and a candid self-knowledge, they begin to experience the need to understand and tell their own stories and to grasp the power of this process to change their lives and give back to their community. MARCH POINT follows the boys’ journey on their path from childhood to adulthood as they come to understand themselves, their tribe and the environmental threat to their people.

Something we learned about after this film is that the oil trains come through almost every state in the US so even if you don't live in Washington state you are most likely affected by these trains which is sad.

Friday was our field trip/day of service day. There were three amazing trips people could go on to different farms and gardens. The first field trips were in Seattle where they got to visit the Seattle Youth Gardens Work's farm set up. Youth Gardens Works empowers homeless and undeserved youth to develop job skills through urban farming practices. They also visited the Lettuce Link a community farm part of an organization called Solid Ground and the Beacon Hill food forest which I visited my first day in Seattle. The second field trips was visiting some first people's of the Pacific Northwest. First they hiked the McLane Creek Nature Trail then went to the Squaxin Garden & Squaxin Island Museum to learn about the Squaxin Island Tribe, or the people of the water, an active tribe within the south puget sound. Last they went to the Nisqually Garden and the Salmon Hatchery.


The last field trips were to Olympia. The first farm visited was Tumwater FRESH farms which is a neighboring school district that GRuB helped develop a youth farm program for. Also visited another high school farm called the Freedom Farm who's name was taken from the Freedom riders of the '60s Civil Rights Movement. After that they headed over to the GRuB farm where the GRuB team cooked us a beautiful meal.

The last farm on this field trip they went to the Kiwanis Food Bank Garden an organic vegetable farm dedicated to growing high quality produce for the Thurston County Food Bank.

Next on our journey RIC went to the Nisqually Youth Center they belt for the tribe. While other groups where getting to the center the Nisqually provided arts and crafts for us to make. We all made necklaces and then once everyone was there we did a reflection share back of the day. Then some tribal elders welcomed us to the center and did a prayer before dinner. During dinner we made necklaces while the Nisqually elders told us some of the history of their environmental struggles. We learned a little about Billy Frank, Jr. who was a tireless advocate for Indian treaty rights and environmental stewardship, whose activism paved the way for the “Boldt decision,” which reaffirmed tribal co-management of salmon resources in the state of Washington. Frank led effective “fish-ins,” which were modeled after sit-ins of the civil rights movement, during the tribal “fish wars” of the 1960s and 1970s. We also learned about GMO salmon and how you can tell the difference is by the color of the salmon. GMO salmon is a darker redish pink color and fresh salmon is a much lighter brownish color. They dye the salmon that pink color to give it color and put chemicals into it. That night for dinner we got to have some wild caught salmon which was delicious.

Saturday was our day of action. So the big issues we were talking about and marching for during our day of action were about the oil trains coming through indigenous communities. So basically there are these trains carrying oil that are coming through the indigenous communities there and they derail and the oil gets dumped into the rivers and other water sources where the tribes go to fish for their salmon. The oil is toxic and poltes the fish which makes people sick. The ports of the trains are in Anacortes, Grays Harbor, and Vancouver in Washington State. Many tribes have been in protest of the Tesoro-Savage oil-by-rail terminal proposed for the banks of the Columbia River in Vancouver including the Quinault, Lummi, Yakama, Umatilla, Nisqually, Swinomish and others.

Small victories have been make over the years but this is still a big on going battle for the tribes as well as land treaties and the salmon becoming GMO. Tribes like the Nisqually have been trying to get land and fishing rights back from a treaty they signed in the 1800s with the government to be aloted the specific amount of land. Of course like most tribal treaties they were broken and a portion of their reservation was taken to put a air puoloting factory on their land.

We started off the day going to the Nisqually tribal garden where we split up into groups and one group started off harvesting blueberries. During our snack time Joaquin, Dante, Travis, Derrick from Hawaii and some youth from Farm Fresh Choice all lead us in the song they had created last night which was so incredibly beautiful. It was a song about hope and never giving up when hard times arise. It starts off humming then goes: "We don't know where were going, where were going but where gonna get there"

After snack one group walked a few blocks to and helped do some more weeding and then we left to go have lunch at a park in downtown Olympia. While there people did some last minute sign making, practiced the skit and chants. Next was the big march and for a lot of the youth it was their first march in solidarity with somebody or something. We marched from one park to the next and at the next park Irena of Food What?! and Ayisah Yusuf did the opening blessing, some poems where read, and the skit was done. Ayisah Yusuf played the evil oil train coming to over take the river only to be blocked by a protester who then gets arrested by the police. The other part of the skit was the big cattle industry influencing the government with their big money and some citizens go to defend the people. The government doesn't listen to them until another citizen comes to make the government listen. It was a really well put together skit which everyone got a lot out of. Once that was finished it was back to marching to the next park which was near the capital building. During our march we had many different chants like:

"Cool, cool, cool it down keep that oil in the ground"

"No more oil trains"

"We want climate justice when do we want it? Now!"

"Keep our air & water clear we don't want your oil here"

"What do we want? Climate Justice"

"When do we want it? Now!"

"Say No to Coal!"

"Keep our river water clear we don't want your oil here"

"Hay Hay, Ho Ho those oil trains have got to go"

Once we finally got to the park we had a few more poems and speeches before we had a little free time music session with music making & dancing. Then while most of the group went to do a quick banner drop over this bridge with this big banner people painted during RIC which is now hanging up at GRuB, Gera and Ayisah Yusuf did something with some of the youth. About 6 youth from different states made a video by the capital building explaining to the governor Jay Inslee of Washington about his governments broken treaty deals & to ask him for a moratorium on the oil trains.

After a super long day of action we finally got to the fun. For our dinner and open mic/swim and dance party it was held at Helsing Junction Farm who for over 20 years, they've grown certified organic vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs on their farm's fertile acres. They're located across the street from the Chehalis river which we spend quite a good amount of time at. Our dinner was catered and was Mediterranean food which was delicious. Everyone ate dinner and then people played games, took naps and went to the river. Now this river was super rocky and the rocks were very slippery due to being covered with algae. Also the current of the river was pretty fast so you had to be careful not to get swept away. From the land where it goes into the river you go down a latter and on to a little island then you have the river then the other side. A lot of fun was had by all swimming in the river.

The fun of swimming turned into the fun of the open mic which many participated in. People danced, sang, rapped, played music, head banged (shout out to GRuB 2014 NM with Jet) until it was time to go back to campus. We even did a big group dance to the Cupid Shuffle. Once we got back to campus we finished up the open mic with some more singing, dancing, and rapping. During this whole RIC summit Travis had been making a RIC 2016 track as well as a Water is Life track where he got as many different languages to say Water is Life which he finished that night.

The next day was the end. We had breakfast at the cafeteria and then we had our closing ceremony. During our ceremony we did some evals and some pros & grows which the feedback was pretty positive from both adult allies and the youth. The greatest grow from the youth list was for RIC to be longer. After our evals we did a thing called a Kuleana that the Hawaiians led us in which is one’s personal sense of responsibility. The person possessing Kuleana, believes in the strength of this value, and will be quick to say, “I accept my responsibilities, and I will be held accountable.” So we went in a circle and everyone said their Kuleana. When we said our Kuleana we were gifted with a seed ball with the seeds from all over the country which was rapped with clay from the islands of Hawaii. We then did our big RIC spiral hug and then took pictures and said our goodbyes.

RIC 2016 is officially a rap fam! Just wanna give a big hand to the GRuB team for all they did & do, and the Nisqually people for bring us up to date with the issue of the oil trains coming through their communities & others and just bring in that spirit. To the RIC team for the hard work behind the scenes ‪#‎Ari‬ ‪#‎Beatriz‬ ‪#‎John‬ , to all the dope farms and orgs we got to visit, the city of Olympia & Seattle, and The Evergreen State College. Finally to the youth & adult ally's who came and brought their knowledge and energy to share. We did it because WE. ARE. ROOTED IN COMMUNITY! ‪#‎RIC2016‬ ‪#‎OlympiaRIC‬ ‪#‎OfftheRICterscale‬ ‪#‎StoptheOilTrains‬

Every RIC year just gets better and better looking forward to what 2017 brings!


Rooted In Community DTown 2015 Day 5 #RIC2015

Sunday was our last day together so we had breakfast by the amphitheater then went right into doing our evals and pros & grows. We slit into the adults and youth and then came together to do a report back. Once we finished that we found a shady tree area and did our closing ceremony where we all went around and said how we felt about the day of action or the summit in general. People said some incredible things and this was really the point in which if we weren’t before we became a family. Once everyone said their piece and how they felt our special announcement happened. First we had the Detroit youth come up and say a few works and thanked us for coming to their city. Then we told everyone that GRUB (Garden Raised Bounty) out of Olympia, Washington are hosting the summer summit in 2016 something I’m super excited about and some of the GRUB youth spoke a little about that. After that we did a water/soil ceremony where took everyone who brought water with them into a bowl then took everyone who brought soil and mixed it with the water. I took some home with me and plan to soon get a little container garden going in my window seal. After that it was hug time & picture time before people had to leave which is of course the best part. Before I left my brother Travis gave everyone a turquoise bead to connect the RIC family.