Drinking humanitarian flavoured Kool-Aid
Another LiveDifferent Hero Holiday is about to begin.
The five team leads and Jenifer (from Community Investment) met this evening for dinner to discuss some logistics of the trip and introduce ourselves. For the ones who didn’t know each other, we were instant friends. Partly because we all drink the WestJet Kool-aid and partly because we all share a burning desire to make a small difference in our world.
Preparing for the trip as a team leader was a different experience, just as I anticipate the trip will be. I made sure to pack a lot of work clothes and shoes that I could easily envision being covered in cement, because in a few short days, they would be exactly that.
The minute I found out I was selected as team lead, I couldn’t wait to get started with my fundraising. My friends, family and coworkers made it easy to be excited about it. I held a pub night, where anyone could come and pay $20 to drink draft beer for two hours. With my age group and circles of friends, it is easy to twist rubber arms into coming out to enjoy a few cold ones. The sense of community during this fundraising evening was incredible and I am eternally grateful for all the support I received.
The mental preparation for the trip brought with it a multitude of feelings – excitement, nervousness, gratitude and anticipation. I believe that the fear of the unknown is a common feeling that most participants experience.
The buzz at the airport as we all arrived at the gate was just like a colony of bees eager to get to the same hive. Everyone was so full of anticipation and nerves. I could almost see the questions humming through everyone’s minds at a mile a minute.
It was interesting to see 45 people in the shoes I was in a year earlier. No one knew what to expect heading into the trip. Especially for those people who didn’t know anyone else, it’s easy to feel like the new kid in school. Will people like me? What have I gotten myself into? Little do they know, after these 10 days, they will develop lasting relationships and have some life-changing experiences that they will never forget and surely not regret!
Being on a Boeing with 50 other WestJet heroes is an amazing feeling – although I’m not sure the flight attendants would agree with that; a large group of WestJetters has been known to be on the louder side! The energy is electrifying; I love how so many other guests on this flight are asking what all 50 of these people in matching shirts are up to. Well, WestJet isn’t just about the commercials – we really do care. And we care about communities, local and abroad, each other and the better good of mankind.
When I left Puerto Plata last year at this time, I was saddened to think that I may not see some of the wonderful people that I met from Nuevo Renacer again. Knowing that I will get to reconnect with them brings me so much joy. It amazes me, because I often wonder how I developed such strong bonds with so many people that I don’t even speak the same language as.
As we buckle our seatbelts and begin our descent into Puerto Plata, it is my hope that everyone on this trip, whether it is their first time or fourth, has an unforgettable experience and gains the perspective, appreciation and gratitude for what we are about to embark on. It truly is a magical experience and I am so thankful to WestJet for giving so many people this opportunity.
” Be the change we wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Lisa, LiveDifferent Hero Holiday Team Lead, 2014