Anyone who has dared to step out of their comfort zone, to try something new, or to take a risk, will ultimately stand out. Sometimes for the good and sometimes the opposite. Either way, it’s how we grow. It’s how we change the world, one person at a time (and that person, first and foremost is you!)
Recently, I was approached at a local retailer by a young man in basketball shorts, white t-shirt, red cap slightly cocked, and visible tattoos on his arms and neck. “Miss Becky?” he asked. I replied enthusiastically, “Yes, how are you doing?!”And a reunion began eight years in the making. You see, this young man was in our program back in 2008 and he recognized me years later because of the shoes I was wearing, my Chacos. Not many people wear Chacos in South Texas, so they stand out. They are like a badge of honor saying, “Yeah we like adventure because these shoes go everywhere, provide great comfort, excellent traction, and amazing tan lines.” But that is not what this article is about. This young man who made some not-so-great choices in his past had an opportunity to make a change. He went through our program, was changed, and now is a productive member of society (he is standing out from the circles he used to travel in). Though it is a great testimony to what Youth Odyssey is doing, that is not the main point of this article either.
My point is, when you stand out it is powerful. Whether it’s making a life change, standing up to a bully, standing up for your values, or going on an adventure. That choice to step out of your comfort zone, makes you stand out. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable (and there are always growing pains) at first, but the rewards of good choices and values are lifelong. People will gravitate to you because you are daring to go against the norm of blending in, you are passionate and driven. Those characteristics are contagious, so share them.
I personally have taken many steps. Some I have had the full support of everyone around me, some I have had only a few backing me, and yet still others I was seemingly alone in those steps. However, all those steps have molded me into the person I am today. I stand out. I am strong.
Don’t be afraid to stand out. Youth Odyssey stands out because we offer unique programs here in South Texas and we get GREAT results. Some may recognize us by our logo, or our vans driving around town, or by the activities we do. And yet some may recognize us simply by our footwear. Either way, we are seeking to draw attention to our mission and our impact by standing out in this community; by sharing what we are doing in the lives of our youth. So be on the lookout for signs of Youth Odyssey. And while you are looking, check out our programs and see how you can get involved. Come stand out with us; and make a difference in life of another wandering youth.
Whether you decide to get involved with Youth Odyssey or not. Don’t be afraid to stand out. Make that decision you have been putting off. Call that person you cannot get out of your mind. Share that idea you are so excited about.
Stand out my friends and reap the rewards!