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Hi New Jersey District!

International Convention this year was so much fun. We went to amazing places on our way to Atlanta and the convention itself was one you would not want to miss. On Sunday, July 3rd, we boarded the bus at 6:30am and started our trip down to Atlanta, stopping in Doswell, Virginia for a day of fun at the amusement park, Kings Dominion. It was so much fun and I loved going on all of the rides! If you are in the area, stop to ride Intimidator 305! You will not regret it! On Monday, we finally arrived in Atlanta and went to see the Fireworks at Centennial Olympic Park. There was a concert, food trucks, and so much more leading up to the amazing fireworks we saw. We headed back to the Marriot Marquis in Atlanta, which is where part of the Hunger Games movies were filmed, and was now NJ District ICON headquarters! On Tuesday, we walked to the National Center for Human and Civil Rights museum, which was an eye-opening experience. NJ District participated in a simulated sit-in which was truly powerful. Talk about getting to know history by walking (well, sitting) in someone’s shoes. There was also so much about the violation of human rights. NJ District left the museum deeply moved and committed to helping others. Next, we went to Steak ‘n Shake for lunch and shortly after we headed to Stone Mountain, a huge rock with an enormous, beautiful carving of Confederate heroes from the Civil War on it. We got to go to the top of the mountain and see the amazing view. There was also a high ropes course, mini golfing, and so many other attractions. We stayed for the laser light show they put on at night, which was outstanding. The next morning, we went to the World of Coke, where we saw Coca-Cola’s history, the Olympic Torches, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear, and even got to taste all the different flavors that Coke makes! We then went to the CNN Food Court for lunch and next the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the western hemisphere! We saw a dolphin show where I sat in the splash zone! It was wet and wonderful and so interesting to see all of the animals.

After our tour of the South, it was time to get down to business: ICON! The meet and greet was so much fun because we got to meet people from all over the world, swap pins with them, and make lifelong friends. The next day was workshops all day long, where I learned a lot about how to become a better leader and spread service throughout my community. There was a fun “courage to engage” activity that got everyone involved. There was also a dance that night which was a lot of fun! The next morning, we attended a session with an amazing keynote speaker, and then went to another workshop about the “call to lead.” We got to interact with others from different districts and learn about their community and the struggles they go through. We then went through caucusing, which is when each candidate running for an International Board position presents their speech and answers questions provided by the audience. During the recognition session, Immediate-Past District Governor Josie Suddeth received the Distinguished Governors’ award and Immediate-Past Treasurer Bobbie Boettinger receive the Distinguished Treasurers’ Award! Also, ten of our Lieutenant Governors received the Robert F. Lucas Outstanding Lieutenant Governor’s Award: Thomas Beeby, Kenneth Ye, Zierra Dean, Emma Clark, Sarah Remig, Julian Maceren, Stephania Gonzalez, Josh Mariscal, Meghan Nevola (me ☺), and Ciara Clarkin!!The next day was House of Delegates which was where we voted for the International Board. Congratulations to NJ’s very own Devin Sun who was elected International President!! Overall, International Convention was full of inspirational keynote speakers, including Ben Nemton from The Buried Life, The Thirst Project, and many others; amazing talents, including a sand artist, an illusionist, and singers; and so many lessons on how to make caring our way of life. This trip was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I highly suggest you all attend next year!!

Yours in Caring and Service,

Meghan Nevola District Secretary