Tag Archives: young adults

The Last Stand: Jim Kraven’s Diary #4

Círdan’s Note: Did you know that Grey Havens YA created its own roleplaying game called The Last Stand? In the game, our young adults (and leaders) get to play as any character they chose, some are original creations and others are personal takes on existing fictional characters. Our very own Jim Kraven (aka 145barbarian) is the group’s chronicler. He travels with his son Timmy as he journals about each gaming session to keeps us all up to speed. We’d like to share with you now the latest entry from Jim’s journal. Note that “limbo” refers to the times when we’ve stopped playing the game…our poor characters get stuck there a lot! 

When you support Grey Havens YA through our Saturday fundraiser at Menchies, you are helping us to continue to provide these young adults with the environment they need to be imaginative in community.  Be sure to read Jim’s latest diary before diving into this one, and check out the end of our post for the Menchies flyer and a FROYO Challenge. Enjoy!

Day 5

I wonder if anyone else here knows about Limbo. We’re all here, stuck frozen in place. Timmy is standing next to me. He looks like he’s about to cry. He can be such a baby some times. I should ask him why Limbo makes him cry. We all just gained these powers. Must be the GM’s (Game Masters) at work again.

Mango MemeWe’re all back now. Timmy’s crying. Calvin is here. He’s on a search for some quality content. Alas, he didn’t find anything. Everyone is doing their thing. We’re all still recovering from the Nightmare attack. Nova still isn’t back. He’s been gone a while. A small party is going out to go find supplies. And by a small party, the GM’s mean all of us. I threw Timmy up into a mango tree. He got some mangos! But he didn’t come back down. He can’t climb down, and I can’t climb up.

We can now read the book to summon the heavenly beings. We need to draw some symbols on the ground……I’m just gonna leave that to the rest of the group. Right now I have to get Timmy down. The two heavenly beings are here. But some rain and thunder followed. Shelter. We need shelter. There’s a cave. Somewhere. The rain is acid rain! We have to get to that cave! Good thing it isn’t far.

We all get there and Feather finds out the cave is incredibly deep. She also found a book tied to Bucky. Some sort of red book that alters Bucky’s mind. Bucky has the bunny though, so we aren’t going to read them yet. Bucky doesn’t want us to have the book. But we don’t want to destroy it. Feather is gonna hold onto it. It appears to be in Russian. Bucky sets down the bunny and goes after Feather’s backpack. Bucky’s aiming a sniper rifle at the backpack. Feather’s lute calms down Bucky. Duke Brilliance found bones rattling around deeper in the cave. The sounds are getting louder. They’re coming our way. They’re murderous. I grab Timmy and position him behind me. I tried to use my newly gained powers, but I still don’t have a handle on it. A couple of us are going to sneak around them. If we can get behind them, then we can have the advantage. I messed up. They noticed me and Feather. I left Timmy behind in the mango tree. He doesn’t need to be here during the fighting. Hopefully the tree protects him from the rain. I dodged it’s attack, then proceeded to hit it. There’s still all five skeletons. One of them lost an arm and a leg. One of the skeletons is dead. One of the skeletons hit Feather and dragged her back to the fight. She looks pretty bad.

We need to kill these skeletons. The skeletons are fighting back now. We can’t seem to kill them. Calvin’s sick roasts made the skeleton more powerful. Skeleton tears. Odd. They seem to heal them. I wonder if we can use that to heal ourselves. The skeletons hit Calvin back and he went down in one hit. He’s laying comatose in a lambo with a skeleton. I’m just watching right now. The skeletons are attacking everyone else. The demon fire flew over and hit us. There are only two skeletons left. The goddess of light is helping, but the dead skeletons are coming back to life. Bucky smashed the stone.

All the skeletons are dead now. Let’s see if our healer can be useful. The healer healed everyone. Calvin is out of his coma, but he isn’t looking good. A couple of us are pretty beat up. We’re gonna go deeper into the cave. At least, that’s what I thought. Everyone is freezing. Limbo is back. Timmy isn’t here still. I’ll write more tomorrow.

Send us an owl: What’s your favorite roleplaying game? 

And now for the promised FroYo Challenge! Visit Menchies in Longont this Saturday August 27th any time between 11am — 11pm and make a frozen yogurt sculpture! Tweet us or leave a comment in the Facebook announcement, and we’ll let the likes judge the winners! Make sure to present this printed flyer during your purchase so that Grey Havens can receive 20% of the proceeds. Thanks, everyone and enjoy! menchie's full pagejp

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All we have to decide…

It’s been a busy summer already for Grey Havens YA and The Grey Havens Group, Inc. We’ve been a little silent on our blogs because we’ve been rebuilding from recent changes and planning for an exciting future. We always like to post fun things on our Facebook Page, though, so make sure you like us! And stay tuned below for a feelsy post about our amazing young adults.

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This May, six of our Grey Havens YA discussion group members graduated high school and set their sights on the world beyond. It has been such a privilege to get to interact with them these past two and a half years, and last month, we chose to honor our graduates through a party. In the party presentation, we posted fandom advice and life lessons learned through our favorite stories like Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Harry Potter.

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Once such inspirational quote we shared came from Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings, and I want to talk a little more about it here. It is so central to what we do here at Grey Havens YA and the Grey Havens Group Inc. It’s also a great way to bring our graduates full circle, seeing as we started this group by meeting regularly to discuss The Hobbit.

The quotation comes from Chapter Two of The Fellowship of the Ring: The Shadow of the Past, and it was made even more famous by the 2001 film adaptation. I am going to quote both film and book because both are important to our young adults– they exist in a world where the two intermingle and both have merit.

In the book, Frodo speaks to Gandalf about the darkness growing in Middle Earth and he says, “I wish it need not have happened in my time.” In the movie, he says, “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”

In both instances, Gandalf responds the same: “So do I … and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given [to] us.

Kelly used this quote when she made a certificate for me to recognize the Make Time for Kids Award (that truly belongs to both of us), and the words really stuck with me.

You’ve probably heard our stories before on this website or during presentations, but Kelly and I have both faced our own shadows of the past. Elements such as fantasy, imagination, and community brought us through to the other side, and that is why we do what we do. We want to help young adults (and old) find “light and high beauty” forever beyond the shadow’s reach.

That is what we have chosen to do with the time given to us. We have chosen to invest in these young adults, these teens who may have felt alone or strange or hurt or afraid. Though we ourselves have felt alone, strange, hurt, and afraid, we have chosen to create a community in which everyone is welcome to the table and hope and imagination flourish in a world full of darkness.

And we have not been disappointed. I will say it again: It is an honor to get to watch these young adults grow up. Not only do we get to see our seniors graduate and embark on new adventures, but we also get to see our middle schoolers enter high school for the first time. We get to watch new members join the group and feel like they’ve been there the whole time. In three years, we’ve watched how far these teens have come through a community of literacy, imagination, and inclusion.

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I firmly believe that one of the best things we can encourage in our young adults is confidence and security in who they are, and we get to see that blossom as they grow. We’ve gotten to watch the quietest ones speak up in large groups. My favorite times to just sit back and watch are at our Multi-Generational Discussions. As a teenager, I never would have spoken up in a discussion group that included senior adults and people my parents’ age. That’s because I would’ve never thought that my thoughts and opinions were valid or that they mattered enough in the grand scheme of things. But these Grey Havens Young Adults know that they matter, and they trust in the process of philosophic discourse so much that they are eager to add their voices to the mix.

I could go on and on about how proud I am of these teens, but if a little spark of confidence is all that I can say my time has brought to them, then I can say I have used that time well, and I am so happy that I get to keep doing it. Grey Havens YA, I hope that in times of strife, you can find comfort and encouragement in Gandalf’s words and carry on, my wayward son. I know with both my hearts that you will make the best use of the time that is given to you. My wish for you is that you stay nerdy and that your confidence and creativity only grows. I hope that you continue to think critically and imagine greatly, and know that you are, and will always be, magnificent.

In the words of a madman in a box: We’re all stories in the end, just make it a good one.

Send us an owl: What’s your favorite piece of fandom life advice?

See you at Panera! P.S. You’re awesome.

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A couple of posts ago, we talked about Bags for Change, a fundraising program at Lucky’s Market Longmont from April through June. We are dedicating the funds raised through this program to help out Grey Havens YA because Lucky’s has asked us to designate a specific Grey Havens Group, Inc project. In our post, we explained why books are so important to us and how having a consistent book fund would really help us out and benefit our members for the rest of their lives.

However, I want you to know that when you support Grey Havens YA through Bags for Change, monthly donations, or our April 25th Panera Fundraiser (keep reading for more info), you are doing so much more than just buying books for us. Books are necessary and important, and they are also quantifiable and tangible. It’s easy for us to talk about them because we can tell you exactly how much money buys exactly how many books that go to exactly how many eager young adults. What is harder to explain is how your support has allowed us literally to keep existing, which benefits not only our core members but the whole community at large.

For the past two years, we have run this organization successfully on borrowed time, in borrowed space, using borrowed equipment. We have no paid staff, no space to call our own, and two seriously aging laptops. And yet — and yet, your support has helped us to finally become an incorporated 501(c)3 NonProfit Organization. Together with The Grey Havens Group, Inc, we have provided quality programming and enriching discussion for children, teens, adults, and older adults all along the Front Range. We really mean it when we say we value literacy, imagination, community, and inclusion. We cannot thank you enough for your support in all of this!

On April 25th, Panera in Longmont is offering a super easy way for you to continue to help us. Simply stop by on Monday between 4:00pm and 8:00pm and present this flyer in print when ordering for dine-in, carry-out, or buying a gift card and 15% of your purchase will benefit The Grey Havens Group, Inc. If you have trouble printing the flyer, please contact us or look for us at Panera and we will be able to give you one. You can also join our Facebook Event Announcement to let us know you’re coming. We can’t wait to see you there for a night of yummy food and inspirational fellowship. As they say in the Grey Havens adult Tolkien branch, a star shines on the hour of our meeting.

Grey Havens Fundriser Flyer

Send us an owl: Why do you choose to support The Grey Havens Group, Inc and it’s young adult and family branch, Grey Havens YA?
P.S. What are you going to order at Panera???

When Trivia Isn’t Trivial: One Reason to Love “Fandoms Unite”

On December 4, Grey Havens YA hosted Star Wars: The Fandom Awakens at Lafayette Public Library, part of our Fandoms Unite outreach program. As we were leaving, I called out, “Live long and prosper.” One of the teens replied, “Namárië.” Fandoms Unite, indeed!

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Eager to answer!

Fandoms Unite, our monthly program of trivia, captions contests, singing, dancing, acting, improv and general fandom craziness is always a ton of fun but it might not seem like a very important thing to offer young adults. What significant good could possibly come from teens getting together once a month to celebrate popular culture? Why would we even encourage such a thing? Isn’t popular culture, well, trivial?

The answer, we strongly believe, is no. Everyone engages in some way with popular culture. It gives many of us a significant part of the language with which we understand and speak about our world. (How many of you would know what I meant if I said that someone can be as logical as a Vulcan but as passionate as Anakin Skywalker?) It is how we engage with it that matters most.

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Star Wars Yoga: Han frozen in carbonite!

Fandoms Unite is not just an experience of popular culture; it is consciously imitative of the internet experience, the home turf of much of the growing fandom subset of popular culture. We sing and shout along to clips and GIFs. Our captions contests are practically exercises in meme-making, and our non-competitive trivia is a lot like one of those “how-much-do you know-about…” quizzes most of us have taken online. The difference between an online community and a Fandoms Unite community (and we believe both can have value) is that Fandoms Unite takes place in a room in which teens are interacting with each other in person. They see first-hand that there are other teens and even adults who take their interests seriously. We reflect the things that make them laugh and the things that spark their imaginations back to them and they, in turn, share the light of their enthusiasm and creativity with us.

Singing, "Let it Flow," a Star Wars parody of the famous Frozen song
Singing, “Let it Flow,” a Star Wars parody of the famous Frozen song

When teens experience other teens and adults celebrating the fandoms they love, they feel seen, heard and valued. When people feel seen, heard and valued, they are more confident and willing to take risks. Learning always involves taking risks. The first time you rode a bike, you had to have the confidence to risk falling. The first time you learned to read, you had to have the confidence to risk failing. Learning to think critically and independently requires the confidence to risk forming and expressing your own thoughts, based in your deep experiences of reason and feeling, even when others are telling you that you are wrong. Learning to say “no” to high-risk behaviors when everyone else is jumping off the bridge, requires the confidence to stand strong against persuasive peers and the need to feel accepted at all costs. Sometimes, that confidence can be nurtured in a meeting room at a library answering what may appear to be trivial questions about Star Wars. The intrinsic worth of confident risk-taking is one reason we say…

May the Force be with you. Live long and prosper. Namárië. Fandoms Unite!received_966898340064948.jpeg    received_966898646731584.jpeg

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Send us an owl: This post describes just one of the many reasons we believe in our Fandoms Unite programming. Have you attended one of our events? What was it like for you? 

If you love what we do and want to help us bring Fandoms Unite to as many young adults as possible, check out this fun and easy way to support us this December. Hanon le (and many thanks).

Notes from an Extremely Geeky Week: Geek Fair and READCON 2015!

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Who shot first?

At the end of every Grey Havens YA meeting, we share what we call Fandom Moments, telling each other of the geeky and nerdy things that happened to us during the week. Over time, we have come to realize that our lives are replete with Fandom Moments but some weeks are even geekier than others. There is, for example, the time we went to Denver Comic Con and the time we spent a week LARPing Harry Potter for young witches and wizards beginning their magical educations. The week of Sunday, September 20 through Saturday, September 26 is right up there with the geekiest of our geeky weeks. What a time we had!

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It all started with Geek Fair, part of the Longmont Museum’s Cultural Resources Fair. Geeky artists and organizations came together from all over the Front Range to help us honor our community’s teachers with a show of geeky solidarity!

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The programming began with a panel of Geeky Educators, featuring two teachers, the leader of the Longmont Public Library’s Animé Club and a parent-child psychologist. They shared how fandom culture enriches their lives and work, helping them to relate to and inspire youth and their families. One educator spoke of the desire to dispel the stigma around intelligence and curiosity. Another told us that she tries every day to remind her students of the Doctor’s words, “In 900 years of time and space, I have never met anyone who wasn’t important.” It is pretty clear why we ❤ ❤ geeky teachers. The conversation continues in our Geeky Teachers group on Facebook!

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The panel was moderated by Grey Havens YA members who talked about what their geeky teachers mean to them. 

After the inspiring panel, we danced!! We also sang fandom-themed songs, had a captions contest and answered some challenging fandom trivia questions. This was our first time presenting the full Fandoms Unite program for an all-ages crowd. We didn’t want it to end. It simply does not get any better than seeing members of the Society for Creative Anachronism dancing like Baby Groot in full medieval garb!

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While all this was happening, guests browsed tables hosted by local cultural organizations. The geeks were well-represented, including the Cerar Clan of the Mandalorian Mercs, The Barony of Caer Galen, the organizers of Myths and Legends Con as well as geeky artists, podcasters and entrepreneurs.

cerar clan  mini painters


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    beyond the trope geek fair

By the end of the day, we had bonded in that way that geeks so easily bond, through shared enthusiasm and a love of the imagination. We rounded out the day with a kind of geek summit meeting, bringing together representatives from our guest organizations to share their geeky dreams. That conversation continues in our new Geeky Leaders of Colorado group on Facebook. Until we meet again, geeks of the Front Range, stay shiny and may the Force be with you!

geeky leaders discussion

What do you want to do tonight? The same thing we do every night–try to take over the world (or just make it a little geekier)!

The Longmont Museum is a perfect partner for Grey Havens YA. The building is beautiful, flooded with light with plenty of space to play, including the highly interactive Robots Rising exhibition that continues through January. They are a local haven for imagination and creativity so, when it comes to geeks, of course they just get us!

You would think that Geek Fair would be enough geekiness for one week but it didn’t stop there! Just six days later Grey Havens YA was at READCON 2015 at the Carbon Valley Regional Library in Firestone. You can imagine our relief when we we were assured that all the libraries in the High Plains District are Vashta Nerada free!

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We stayed out of the shadows, just in case. 

We were proud to be part of the official READCON 2015 launch by helping to host the pre-READCON breakfast at The Brew at Dejalu Books. It’s such a great place for coffee, crepes, and books! Our members came in cosplay to greet guests, talk about books and draw free pictures for anyone who wanted a little fandom inspiration to take home. The walls were decorated with the works of Grey Havens YA artists and the atmosphere was thick with our particular brand of enthusiasm.

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A few butterbeers and a hearty Second Breakfast gave us the fuel we needed for more fun!

After breakfast, we headed over to the library. We were greeted, not only by library staff, but by a familiar blue box. We knew we were in the right place!

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Arriving at READCON 2015 in style. Allons-y!

Our members served as official judges of the genre book display competition and designed their own libraries using Minecraft. There were things to do and see all over the library, even outside, but, if you were looking for Grey Havens YA’s directors, chances are you would find them inside the incredibly clever “What Would the Doctor Read?” interactive display.

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So much to do and see at READCON!

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What WOULD the Doctor read? He would ask Grey Havens YA for book recommendations!

Just being at READCON was a joy for us but we were also thrilled to present a panel about our favorite books. Grey Havens YA members talked with insight and humor about all of their most beloved young adult fiction. The audience was very engaged and, after the panel, they could check out the books for themselves from the beautiful Grey Havens YA book display!

reacon displayreadcon audienceWe had a great audience!

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We tried to take a serious picture. We really did…

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… but it just didn’t work out that way!

We are tremendously grateful to Carbon Valley Regional Library for inviting us to be part of READCON 2015 at their warm and welcoming library. We can’t wait to return with more Grey Havens YA programming! This week, we will be returning to our regularly scheduled book discussions but our imaginations will linger a while longer at Geek Fair and READCON!

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Best accidental photobomb ever! The expression on the face of the kid in the corner sums up our feelings about our amazing geeky week. We can’t wait for next year! Good thing we have a TARDIS!

Click here for a full slideshow of photos from READCON 2015. More from Geek Fair and READCON 2015 – including videos – coming soon! Make sure to like our Facebook page for daily updates and more photo fun!

Send us an owl: Did you attend Geek Fair or READCON 2015? Did you have as much fun as we did?