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YACC values courage and heart

At our monthly team meetings, one of our crew members discusses some of our five values: strength, courage, commitment, heart, and spark. This is Karine’s reflection from this month’s meeting.


Fuck! It’s almost noon and I still haven’t written my “value.” Our team meeting is at 1:30 p.m. I go to the bathroom and think — what do I want to say? By the way, I suspect bathrooms were invented not just for the obvious, but also to think clearly. Anyway. Quickly I realize that besides the fact that I’m pressure prompted most days, I can procrastinate at an Olympian level, and I forget shit I’m suppose to do often, the reason why I forgot this morning is because I got absorbed in Facebook.

But wait, not in the way most people would think. My daily life at YACC is not composed of random, aimless hours spent on Facebook. Yes, I do have my moments of laughing out loud at a very funny video, meme, or post (thank you to Julie Michaud for my daily laughs). Yes sometimes (i.e. weekly), I am tagged by one of our YACCers because they saw something funny with the word “fuck” in it. But for the vast majority of my time on Facebook, I get to witness the big “C” in action; I’m talking about COURAGE. (Fuck cancer being the big “C,” it doesn’t deserve its own letter, much less a capital one!). So, let me talk to you about courage and heart.

Brené Brown (who I love) says:

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant ‘To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.’ Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as ‘ordinary courage.’”

How fucking great is that?! And in YACC’s Facebook world, we see a lot of “ordinary courage.” I got lost on Facebook this morning because I was reading all the honest, hard, and real posts by YACCers. I was deeply touched by reading people’s responses, words of support, and love. I was moved by how courageous it is to share very deep secrets, heartbreaks, betrayal, fears, loneliness, frustration, happiness, relief, etc. with “strangers.”

We often hear people say someone living with cancer is so courageous. This most often refers to what people know and see of cancer — treatment, feeling sick, surgery, etc. When I think of our beautiful and fierce community of young adults, I also see them as courageous, but I see courage in how they express their vulnerability with each other. I see courage every time a new person posts for the first time in our Facebook group. I see courage every time someone shares difficult news. I see courage when someone shares good news and receives love and support from everybody, even those who a few minutes earlier may have shared a “not so good news” for themselves. I see courage when I receive a request to talk through “Need To YACC.” I see courage when people express their sadness after losing a community member. I see courage when someone applies to attend an event of ours. I see courage when they cry and laugh at the same time. I see courage ALL THE TIME. Our YACCers are full of it! Cancer, on the other hand, is full of shit.

I know it is a privilege to witness courage every day. Last week, I celebrated 10 years working for YACC. I took some time to reflect, and the gratitude I felt for my work was overwhelming. I am lucky to be working with such courageous people. A lot of people ask me why I decided to move to NL, in February, sight unseen, to work for YACC. I use to say that it just felt right. Today, I truly feel that before even knowing them, our community members gave me the courage to follow my heart, be vulnerable, and dive in. They paved the way. They help me be courageous, too, and that is the best gift of all!

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