Sort of going backwards in my reply to you, BBTS in New Hope, PA would certainly be an exciting new adventure for us but I’m afraid the distance and the cost would be prohibitive for the two of us.
I can appreciate all the work, time, and sweat that went into planning that weekend last November 2017. We have been involved in GMT (Gay Men Together) since it’s beginning and MBT (Make Beautiful Tribe) since 1996. Both were held in Maine and attracted men from all over New England and beyond. Both are defunked now, and we miss them and the camaraderie terribly. We hoped BBTS would revive that feeling of community for us. And I will say that I think it has been a good beginning in that direction for us.
The first few hours of the weekend were very awkward for me. We only knew Rich G. and didn’t want to hang onto him like a wet dish cloth in the attempt to feel a part of things. It has been a long time since I was “the new guy”, and I think I had forgotten how to get past that as the old insecurities boiled up inside me. As dinner Friday night started, Rich came over to us and began to introduce us to the men immediately around us as we sat down to eat. That helped to break the ice. Everyone was very nice and welcoming after that point. Sometimes it just take one person to break through that wall.
Overall, I enjoyed the weekend immensely. Things happened that gave me a huge boost to my self confidence at a time when I really needed it. That will be my big take-away from the weekend.
As I mentioned before, a regret is that I didn’t get to personally interact with everyone. But really, even if it had been 35 men in number, I probably wouldn’t have gotten to do so. I did find the group to be warm and welcoming, and things got easier for me as the weekend went on. What more could one ask for?
Name tags would have been a HUGE help for me as a newbie. I am terrible with names, and as a visual learner having name tags would have given me a nice visual prompt. I enjoyed the group activities (cocktail time, meals, show, games) since they gave me something to focus on when I realized I didn’t know anyone to hang out with. Consequently, I did feel a little lost during the periods of free time. Thank goodness I was there with Colin so I did have someone to hang with at those times. Good choice of restaurants on your part. They seemed to welcome us even when they were extremely busy with other customers.
Your mission statement is perfect. Things have their own life at their own time and may not always live up to the mission, but the goal is there for everyone to work towards. I came with an open mind and was not disappointed. I certainly do hope that I can be a part of the group next time and would enjoy welcoming anyone to the state if they should come up outside of that weekend.
Thank you, Gee, for the opportunity to join you all last November 2017. I know it was a large group for you, but I am so glad I was a part of it.