EDMOND—After witnessing a solid flag football contest between 1B and 2B on Thursday, July 26, I walked from the Herbert W. Armstrong College football field to the Dwight Armstrong Performing Arts Conservatory to listen to dorm 4B’s six-minute speeches. Flag football assistant instructor Logan Yoder had the same idea, apparently. As we took our places in the back of the speech room alongside 4B assistant counselor David Marquez, Mr. Yoder asked if I still like the Seattle Mariners. Yes, I told him, but I guaranteed they would miss the playoffs as always.
Speech instructor Ryan Malone got the class started by introducing 4B counselor Warren Reinsch as the toastmaster. Mr. Reinsch presented the first speaker, a first-time camper from Texas and the only 19-year-old attending Philadelphia Youth Camp this year, Sabian. He spoke about taking the time to watch the scenery and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation while traveling. He encouraged his dorm mates to enjoy the journey, make traveling fun, and live while traveling.
“That Was Embarrassing,” 15-year-old Canadian James said of the awkward social interactions that we’ve all experienced. His humorous speech was packed with helpful points for avoiding more embarrassment in the future: When someone greets you, answer their question, ask the same question back, hear their answer, and ask a follow-up question to avoid uncomfortable silence; speak according to the setting—loudly in a noisy environment, softly in a quiet environment—and when you can’t hear, ask the other person to repeat what they said, or move to a quieter area if possible; when unsure whether to initiate a handshake or a hug, wait for the other person to initiate. If you forget someone’s name, instead of guessing wrong, introduce that person to someone else and let them do all the talking.
Another Canadian, Virgilio, talked about “How I Got My First Truck.” The truck smelled horrible, leaked, was rusted, and lots of the parts didn’t work. Through hard work, Virgilio fixed up most of the truck. He told the audience to find a way to have fun when working on big projects.
Yet another Canadian, Zeb, exhorted his dorm to “Crush the Enemy.” He told a story with spiritual parallels of two competing Chinese generals, the weaker of whom defeated the stronger because the stronger didn’t recognize and eliminate the threat.
Edmond local Mitchell gave the first of four sports-themed speeches about the health benefits of rock climbing, including building muscle, footwork, lower-body strength, and cardiovascular output while reducing stress and preventing mental illness. The fourth and final Canadian speaker (I promise), Calin, extolled the virtues of “The Best Sport”: baseball. Mr. Malone and I agreed [Editor’s Note: Mr. Malone’s and Mr. Turgeon’s view does reflect the official view of pcog.org/youth].
Arizona native Ian explained three negative effects of rushing after he received a shiny red bass: Being out of tune, unnecessary noise, and experiencing setbacks in his development as a musician.
Fifteen-year-old Jaden demonstrated how to execute a kickflip skateboarding trick before Edmond local Alexander spoke on the importance of fathers—biological, adoptive or figurative. As he explained, fathers teach, provide order and discipline, and supply security, making their children happy.
Oregonian Daniel shared a personal story about “How to Serve in the Field” (it’s not what you think). Recently, he had a rough experience trying out for a local soccer team—forgetting his release form, biking six miles home and back to retrieve it, breaking his glasses, realizing he was out of shape, and not making friends right away. He was the backup goalie for the junior varsity team, which was winless when he left for the Feast of Tabernacles.
When he returned, the team was still winless, and he got to start a game. The defense in front of him was so bad, they accidentally scored on him and allowed five more easy goals in a blowout loss. A few weeks later, he started for the varsity team, which was also winless and very bad, and he allowed seven goals despite praying for help.
His mother told him that he was driven by vanity instead of serving on the soccer field. In God’s Church, Daniel explained, we’re all on physical and spiritual teams striving for the same goals, so we should focus on helping each other.
“Good, lively session, fellas,” Mr. Malone said before evaluating all ten speeches in rapid-fire succession. He presented a ticket, redeemable at the pyc store, to Zeb for his speech preparation and organization, and for filling the allotted time.