Sheila Van Wert, Saginaw Valley State University, Junior shares her thoughts on the last day.

2013 Fostering Success Leadership Retreat
Day 8: Friday July 23, 2013

Today we were supposed to take a hop on, hop off food tour of Philadelphia. Instead we have decided to cut our trip a day early. Not only has this trip been an eye opening experience on many different levels but was also a bit stressful.

We began our day departing from the hotel at 9am this morning. The total drive time today to get back to Michigan is about 11 hours. Many people are sleeping on and off throughout the trip.  Some are listening to music and others watching movies.

Along the way we have stopped to get breakfast and lunch. As I sit on the bus I hear my fellow peers laugh and giggle with each other. It’s all most as if we developed a little family on this trip. On this trip we have laughed, cried, giggled, and everything in between.

Over all this has been an amazing experience. We got to try new foods, meet and speak with staffers from the White House, got a tour of the capitol building, spoke with people from the Ways and Means committee, a water tour of Washington DC, seen cool things in Museums and even some creepy things and much more. We got to experience what it is like to help make changes in policy and even got to experience some rejection as well.

As our trip comes to an end, it is a bittersweet feeling. Many of us will go back to our normal lives when we get home, one thing I will never forget is the feeling of making new friends and learning new experiences. Without FSM many of us would have not gotten the chance to make these memories. This leadership was a great ending to summer. I have been empowered to continue to advocate and make changes for future foster alumni to come.

Watch out Michigan, here we come to make a difference.

Sheila Van Wert, Saginaw Valley State University, Junior

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