ATLANTA, GA – Local USY Director Andrew Zeff has had his hand raised for over 7 minutes now, waiting for high school youth group participants to quiet down and allow the two convention coordinators to continue with the program they had planned.
“It should not have to take this long,” said Zeff to the 184 teenage participants in the dining room of the Hilton, who continued to talk over his pleading. “This is coming out of your own free time.”
Ella Rosen, 18 year old convention coordinator, switched her personalized clipboard into her left hand as she raised her right hand to signify to her peers to stop talking. “Guys, your friends worked really hard to plan a program that y’all would enjoy,” Rosen said as Zeff began to make “shushing” sounds into the microphone, which only served to add more white noise to the din of high schoolers whispering among themselves, totally oblivious to the desperation of the leaders at the front of the room.
The program they wanted to run, which was set up in the adjacent multipurpose room, consisted of posters hanging around the walls with thought-provoking questions and Post-It notes for participants to leave their answers on each one. The convention was running roughly 27 minutes behind the schedule Rosen and Siegler had created.
“We’ll wait here until everyone is quiet,” Zeff added. “You’re being unfair to your friends who have put so much into making this convention meaningful and fun for you. How would you like it if you had planned this program? You can keep talking, but it’s only going to make your free time shorter.”
When asked what their long term plan was, Rosen responded, “I don’t know. Probably just move on and run the activity for the 35 people who are paying attention.”