By Hillary Adams Case, Pel Reunion
[Editor’s Note: This is part of the “Life Cycle of a Shoaler” series. This essay focuses on the transition from Pelican to Conference attendee.]
I come from a multi-generational family of Pelicans. It was only natural that I too became a Pelican when I was old enough. My family chose Pelican Reunion as our conference of choice. This was a great conference for me to experience the island and decide where I wanted to fit in the community.
When I “came of age,” I spent five summers as a full-season Pelican. I was able to contribute to the vibrancy of the staff while learning more about myself at the same time. I especially loved my time as a Snackie – serving ice cream and rickies to guests and staff. Another perk of being a Pelican: I met my husband.
Ultimately, the real world took over and my husband and I were forced to stay on the mainland for the summers. Keeping Star in our world is essential. We have chosen for the time being to continue attending Pelican Reunion. We are able to get our taste of the island, but not feel too much like conferees! This weekend is intended for former staff to reunite therefore we look forward to seeing old friends and reminiscing.
One of the biggest challenges in the transition from being a Pelican to being a Conferee is the lack of complete freedom on the island. It’s difficult to resist going through the Authorized Personnel doors or see who may be hanging out in Pel Hall or on Shack Deck. Or in my case, walking into the snack bar and making a frappe just the way I wanted it. We are now forced to use conference spaces. This is not all bad though: utilizing the front porch and the rocking chairs all day as opposed to strictly during conference dinner is great!
As is natural, we do find ourselves saying, “when I was a Pelican…” more than we may want to admit! Additionally, feeling old when we see the kids we remembered as conferees now working as Pelicans is less than desirable. But, we were in that position once too. It is nice to see other generations feel the desire to work on the island the way we did.
We plan on staying conferees for the foreseeable future. We may venture into the week-long family conferences when we are ready to truly be conferees again or have a family of our own. Using conference spaces, eating in the dining hall serviced by Pelicans and having our beds made for us isn’t so bad after all.