Here’s something to believe in

as the flames crackle —

I rave about it in every conversation — Interact, the service club that has done more than change my life; it has shaped it. For those lucky enough to grow up in Interact District 5170, you all know exactly what I am talking about.

We begin as seedlings. We do not know the caliber of the soil that is about to cover us. We do not know we are about to be immersed into complete darkness. At the same time, we do not know that the darkness is the absolute best thing that will happen to us.

For us, our seeds begin during club rush week. We are approached by an overly excited Interactor, almost yelling, but in a way you just can not help but smile. They slowly guide you to the table as you sign your name, but little did you know, you were signing onto a journey of life-long service and naive, yet, pure optimism.

Now — your seed has begun to grasp onto the soil, the unknown. The roots are entangling onto everything around it. Every service event, every fundraiser, every opportunity — you take it. Eventually, you are no longer a seed. You are a sprout.

Humble, but growing. Small, but mighty. Naive, but with great potential. Slowly, the sprout grows, and your passion for service grows along with it. But sometimes, growing a flower is hard. You hit a point where the spontaneity becomes a routine and the club you thought had it all, well, you might just think you have seen it all.

But there it is — your stem. The bridge between the roots and the bud of the flower. The reasons on why you even continue pursuing this club and the unknown surfeit of passion it holds. The reasons why you decided to stay.

The sprout is now tall and you can see the outline of the flower about to take shape. All that is left — you, the petals. You are petals. You are the vibrancy of the entire flower, you are an outlier, you dare to even have the dreams to change this world.

But you are not alone, definitely not alone in Interact. In Interact, you realize that you are never the lone flower, never competing to be more than the flower next to it. You learn that the best way to bring out the beauty in you is to bring it out of someone first. Though we may be beautiful flowers alone, together, we make a garden.

And so, here it is, and here we are — in the crux of the moment, daunting, but daring, and most importantly, dreaming.

Daunting because we are the youth. We are barely coming into our adult years, we do not have half the life experience of those we have been around, and it is hazy.

But we are daring. We dare to surmount the limitations set on us by others, but also by ourselves. We dare to dive into the unknown knowing there is no set path for us. We dare to embrace the unexpected.

Most importantly, we are dreaming. We dream of a better world, we dream of a better reality. Though not stated, we do not just dream — we do. We are the dreamers and the doers, the go-getters, the fighters, and the lovers.

We are Interactors of District 5170 — I believe in them.