Yesterday, on my precious Sunday afternoon off, which I normally choose to spend unshowered, in my pajamas, and drinking coffee until I have to pee every five minutes, I instead spent five and a half hours in a church. Not going to an actual church service, god forbid (heh), perish the thought. I started my first day of training to become a facilitator at something called the Oak Tree Corner and their office, even though they are not associated with any religion, just happens to be located within a church.
Oak Tree Corner is an organization for children who have lost a close family member or friend. Facilitators are in charge of leading the kids in groups to help them through the grieving process. And before anyone worries that I will completely harm a child's mental health in a scary and irreversible way, the training is very, very extensive. I heard about it through a coworker who has been involved with the organization for four years and decided to pursue it since I a) have a lot of free time, b) enjoy working with kids, c) get little to no satisfaction out of my job, and d) should give more back to the community than feeding money into the local bars.
I didn't really know what to expect when I walked into the room. I didn't know how many of us there would be, I didn't know what kind of people they would be, I didn't know what kind of activities they'd make us do. My worst fear is that we'd have to play a million ice breaker activities, something I had more than enough of in high school and college and, besides that, I hate ice breaker activities with the fire of a thousand suns. I'm pretty sure everyone does. It's not that I don't enjoy getting to know people, it's just that I don't care what your favorite food is. I'm sorry. I don't. Also, I can guarantee that approximately .0005 seconds after you tell me, the information will have left my brain and splattered all over the wall next to me. Don't look, because brain spaghetti looks disgusting.
Luckily, we only had to do one ice breaker, and it was mostly painless. The other volunteers varied in ages. I think the youngest is probably 20 and the oldest maybe 50 or 60 something, so I definitely fell on the younger end of the spectrum. There were only two men in the group, not counting one of the volunteers already involved in the program who came to speak to us, and one was around my age and the other middle-aged and married to one of the women in the group.
All in all, it was a very pleasant experience and I'm really looking forward to going back. I was definitely nervous going in. After all, the whole thing was definitely out of my comfort zone, what with the meeting new people and being nice and responsible and on time and not saying anything inappropriate for almost six hours. I was mostly successful. My face only turned an unholy shade of red about three times and, oh, I did accidentally bring up stool samples at one point, but everyone laughed so I think it was OK.
Seriously, though. Stool samples. I should not be allowed out in public and I can't believe they're going to let me be in charge of children.