Conviction is the Key
August 12, 2014
Conviction is the Key
By Brandon Tice, Promise Fellow at Ignite Afterschool
By far the most nerve-wracking, uplifting, and meaningful day of my service this month was June 13th. I knew that it was going to be a special day right from the start: It was the day of the Ignite Youth Voice for Change summit, and the day of our site visit from a local foundation. I was excited to hang out with young people, youth advocates, and my fellow Promise Fellows at the youth summit. Yet, at the beginning of the day, my excitement was overshadowed by my nervousness; the site visit was key to getting the grant that would essentially pay for my salary as a staff member of Ignite Afterschool. Driving to the youth summit in the morning, my thoughts kept drifting to all the site visit later that day, and all the ways I could fatally screw it up.
Yet a funny thing happened once I got to the youth summit: my anxieties were washed away in a surge of energy and excitement. I laughed and joked with the other Promise Fellows, many of whom I now considered good friends. I heard the keynote speaker urge us to be fearless, and to approach each new day and new challenge with a relentless positivity. And I saw youth stepping up to take leadership roles and get involved in issues that affected them. All of these sensations swelled inside me and gave me a confidence and energy that truly left me feeling fearless. Instead of viewing the site visit as two hours of investigation that I should get over with as quickly as possible, I now saw it as a great opportunity to share Ignite Afterschool’s vision and strategy. Some of our closest network partners would also be there for the site visit – people that were not often all in the same room together – and I began to think this site visit could be a chance for all to do some big picture thinking together with the program officer.
In the conference room where we all met for the site visit, the free flow of conversation, ideas, and laughter made it clear that not only were we a tight-knit group of colleagues, but we were also a great candidate for the grant. We had all gone in with the confidence that we really truly deserved the grant, and I feel quite strongly that we convinced the foundation too. I won’t know for sure until later this summer, but regardless of what happens, I learned that the key to overcoming challenges is to pursue them with the conviction that you have the knowledge and capabilities to overcome them.
[From “Voices From the Field: Reflections from Minnesota Alliance With Youth’s AmeriCorps Promise Fellows.” Summer 2014.]