Unstoppable: Learning the issues, finding your voice, changing the world
Do you believe that? Can we learn the issues, find our voices, and change the world? There’s a group of young women in Western Pennsylvania who believe they can.
One of the things I love most about young women is their idealism. As we age, sometimes we lose some of that idealism. We’ve run into too many brick walls and glass ceilings. For three years now, I’ve been learning to mentor the young women of “unstoppable.” They’ve been teaching me; I’ve been teaching them. Sometimes I talk too much, or they don’t talk enough. Sometimes I don’t encourage enough, or they don’t take the ball and run with it.
The first event they ever planned and carried through was “unstoppable 2014.” They thought big – and invited UMW Chief Executive Officer Harriett Olson to be a keynote speaker – and she came to Western Pennsylvania – directly from a World Council of Churches event in Switzerland to be part of the event, which was organized by the young women themselves! Young women came from 16 different churches (one from Eastern PA) representing eight Western PA districts.
Unstoppable 2015 moved from Grove City College to California University of Pennsylvania. In the group photo, you can see the young women beside a wall in California borough that had been covered by ugly graffiti, with weeds and garbage along its base. An unstoppable event always includes a variety of hands-on outreach opportunities.
Some of the original planning committee were joined by new young women in 2015, and again in 2016. The idea has grown that this is something important, something that needs to continue. The current committee includes college and post-college women who occasionally meet in person, but mostly by Skype or group emails to work out the details.
One of the original unstoppable young women, Denise Nicole Stone, has written an invitation – actually a challenge for United Methodist Women to invite and enable young women they care about to attend the 2016 unstoppable event in July. The brochure is online. Denise’s invitation follows…
The power of invitationUnstoppable 2016 is approaching, quickly. From July 21-24 young women from around the conference will spend a weekend at California University of Pennsylvania worshiping, working and learning in community. Relationships will be formed and deepened. Knowledge will be gained. Voices found. Lives altered, and the world changed.
Unstoppable strives to develop leadership, empower young women to speak up, and form a community of sisters in faith with whom you can journey through life. It is a truly wonderful event.
Throughout the year the planning committee of Unstoppable works diligently to make 2016 the most meaningful experience it possibly can be. The brochure and registration information are on the Conference website, but that is not enough.
So here is my challenge to the women of the UMW in WPA: Tell people about it! Extend an invitation! To the young women in your congregation, to your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, neighbors. Every single one of us is a member of the UMW because someone invited us – to come to a meeting, to attend Mission u, etc. Someone offered us a spot at the table and a chance to grow, learn, change and walk this journey alongside one another. I’m sure that as you read this, you each know that person, you remember her and the way her invitation shaped your life. I encourage you to be that person to someone else. As we can all testify, an invitation can change a life. Extend the invitation, and walk alongside her to unstoppable and beyond.
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