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Top 10 YACC-related memories

By Charlene

When I first joined YACC, my friends and family questioned it and wondered if I made the right decision. They would ask me how I would handle it if I got close to someone and then they passed away.

It’s true that I have lost so many YACCers who I loved and cared for. Yes, it’s hard when someone dies and I wish I didn’t have to lose anyone to this horrible disease, but there is another side.

The connection that we have is indescribable and the care that we have for each other is beyond words. To know that there is a group of people who “get it” and I’m not alone means so much. Yes, it hurts like crazy when you lose someone, but I wouldn’t trade the love, connection, joy, adventures, sadness, and growth as a person for anything.

Being a part of YACC has made my life better and richer. I can’t put into words how much YACC means to me. Here are my top ten memorable memories related to YACC in no particular order.

In a full-body shot against a background of stony cliffs and late-season grass, Charlene raises her arms in celebration after climbing a large hill.

1. My second Survivor Conference. I stayed an extra couple of days to do some sight-seeing around Newfoundland. My original plan was to stay at the hotel but a fellow YACCer invited me to stay with her at an Airbnb she rented. I had an amazing time seeing icebergs and puffins — and oh yeah, with limited mobility, I climbed a huge mountain. Definitely a day I will never forget.

A tourism storyboard explains some of the history of the root cellars in Elliston, NL.

2. We came across a sign talking about root cellars on the same day as number one, on our way to see the puffins and icebergs. Me and two other friends we met up with joked about coming to Newfoundland just to see root cellars and how we are happy we were able to check that off our bucket list. This is an ongoing joke with us and whenever we get together we try to find something unusual to cheek of our list.

3. Visiting another YACCer in BC for two weeks. I had my birthday there and she threw me a surprise birthday party on Vancouver Island. YACCers who were visiting BC also came over, as did others YACCers who live in Vancouver and Prince George.

4. I went zip lining on that same trip. I was beyond terrified but I got through it with the other YACCers who were there. I was proud of myself for doing it. Did I mention I’m terrified of heights?

5. Again on that same trip, me, my friend who I was staying with, and her family went on a road trip to Tofino. We went to Long Beach and I was amazed. I also enjoyed the adventures that happened on our way there and back home again.

Charlene and two of her YACCer friends smile for a selfie outdoors on a cold evening. They are wearing hats and winter jackets.

6. I was going through a really tough time just before COVID and two YACCers drove two hours just to go out for dinner and have a girls night. We had so much fun.

7. Getting Screeched-In, kissing a fish, and becoming an honorary Newfoundlander.

8. Going to a karaoke bar and getting up in front of a group of people with fellow YACCers and singing during Survivor Conference.

9. Going to Retreat Yourself and feeling connected and like I belonged. I’m still amazed at how it only took four short days to create a bond that will last a lifetime. The YACCers I met at that retreat are a very important part of my life.

10. Last but not least, I reached out of my comfort zone and told a part of my story at Survivor Conference.

It’s hard to rate these and so many other memories that I have with YACC because they are all special in their own way. I can’t imagine my life without YACC. YACC has helped me grow as a person, get out of my comfort zone in a good way, and has brought so much fun and connection into my life.

YACC means family and I’m grateful they are a part of mine.

Against a backdrop of craggy cliffs and grey ocean, Charlene stands with four YACCer friends to the right of the frame. They are dressed for cold weather.

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