For most communities along the North Shore, places for the youth to express themselves don’t exist. Fortunately, our community is blessed enough to have a resource like CROYA. This “Committee Representing Our Young Adults” has been a part of my life since early last year and is truly something amazing. I began going when a girl in my math class convinced me to by saying things like, “it’s such an amazing place” and “you would have so much fun there.” I doubted her and told her no I, would not go. With more convincing I decided to attend the retreat last fall. CROYA soon became my “go to” safe haven, a place where myself and many of my peers can go to step out of their comfort zone, meet new people, and have fun. CROYA has held a strong position in this community for decades and holds a strong place in many students lives, including these three seniors:
Andrea Mannarino on CROYA:
“CROYA was something that I found when I needed it most. It has provided me strength, along with a loving group of people that I consider to be my second family. Wednesday meetings, leading retreats (or just being a retreatant), and even just going in after school for a few minutes have all made a significant impact on my life as a student and as a person in general. When you walk through the doors, you are instantly hit with non-judgmental vibes, respect, and love because everyone there understands “everyone has a chapter they don’t read aloud.” For students who’ve gone, just keep going. For students that haven’t, just go once–you won’t regret it. Everyone just needs a little bit of CROYA in their lives.”
Julia Plotner on retreats:
“CROYA is something every high school student should try at least once. The retreats have held importance in my life and I know for a fact in many others as well. Even if nothing bad is going on in your life, the weekend challenges high school students to step out of their comfort zones, make new friends, and to change their perspective on multiple topics. Without the retreats some of my best friends today would not be in my life.”
Jack Page on retreats:
“In the midst of the stress of school, college planning, and everything else, the retreats allow you create friendships that otherwise would be unlikely and take a break from the constant hustle to grow up and enjoy being a kid.”
With the seniors last retreat just this past weekend, there are some things that truly need to be said about this wonderful outlet. Just walking through the CROYA doors every day after school, and on Wednesday night meetings, is one of the best feelings when smiling faces come through those front doors. The welcoming from staff and my peers is an unexplainable “warm fuzzy” feeling.
The adult staff, Leslie, Todd, Rick, and Meghan, have become people students can confide in and laugh with. They truly are more than just adults to us “CROYA kids,” they are our friends. The CROYA staff is the epitome of a support system. Their doors are always open to everyone.
As the seniors finish out their last few weeks with CROYA, there is only one tip of advice we can give to the student body. Attending those Wednesday night meetings at 7, can 110% guarantee that you will make new friends, smile, and laugh uncontrollably. If you do decide to use that one hour a week to get away from the stress of high school, your stereotype, and to learn how relax… you won’t regret it. CROYA is a place where you can be yourself, and a place where you can break down social barriers and stereotypes. So whether you’re an athlete, a criminal, a basket case, a princess, or a brain, anyone can come to CROYA and that truly is why it is so special. And remember “it’ll all work out.”