The recent news that a gay youth retreat is opening in Saskatoon has raised many unrelated questions with me. It is apparently a four-day leadership camp for gay and lesbian youth for ages 14 to 24 at an undisclosed location in Saskatoon. To begin with I have no problem with this retreat, but most young people in this age group have identity problems and could benefit from leadership training. It seems to me that having a camp restricted to gays and lesbians may only reinforce the notion that these young people are different and discriminated against in some way by others in society. Confining this camp to gays and lesbians at an undisclosed location may only reinforce that notion.
Now about the unrelated questions! Having a camp for all our youth to provide leadership skills in how they may deal with personal identity, family, honesty, integrity, respect, understanding, love and compassion, a work ethic and how they can positively contribute to society and their community seems like a great idea. These few words are some of the tools they need to mature and enter the mainstream of society. It is how they will succeed in their chosen field of interest. It is how they will benefit from their personal and individual skills in terms of both money and personal satisfaction.
I am considered old at 65 and the problems I face as a senior are certainly different than those of our youth. Regardless, there are many similarities. At times some of us wonder who we were, who we are and who we are going to become, as we grow older faster with each passing day. Some of us wish for another shot at life in the faint hope that we may get it right the second time around.
Seniors too face discrimination as young people look at us and believe we never learned how to drive and that we were always old. My kids all believed I had too many rules in my house and that I was unfair in some way or that I didn’t understand their problems and in some cases they were likely right. I was never perfect and being perfect is not one of my goals. I know who I am most days and that’s all good with me. I am not famous, rich or good looking and that too is all good. I have a faith in God, a loving wife, a love of family, a few special friends and a loyal dog. That is all I need to know who I am.