15 Dec Memory Ball and the Millennial Spirit
Looking for your daily dose of inspiration? Well then, you’re in for a treat. Today, we are pleased to feature an inspiring post from one of (the many!) inspiring member of the Memory Ball Team. Amanda McMillan has been involved in Memory Ball for the past five years, and has shared her spunk, creativity, and dedication with us throughout the years. She’s crafted a thought-provoking post about some of the things she’s learned throughout her time volunteering with Memory Ball, and her thoughts on the millennial spirit.
We are excited to share this post with you and to remind folks that early bird tickets for this year’s event will be going on sale in less than a month’s time. Make sure to mark January 1, 2017 in your calendars, as tickets go on sale at midnight!
I strongly believe that nothing exists in a vacuum; everything and everyone has layers, and sometimes those layers are conflicting. I’ve found this to be especially true when it comes to generational stereotypes – there’s a depth to each generation that is often overlooked or passed off as an exception to some sort of sociological rule. As a member of the generation en vogue, Millennials, I’d say that this is certainly true. We are more than a selfie-taking, politically correct, entitled group of whiners. Dare I say it, we are actually changing the face of the economy, of culture, of politics, and even of charity!
When I got involved with Memory Ball five years ago, I saw its potential from day one. Yes, it felt good to be connected to a cause that has touched my own family, and one that was so close to my good friend and Memory Ball co-founder, Carolyn’s, heart. But it didn’t stop there. This was about making a difference, showing support, and being able to watch this event grow out of glorious grassroots dedication. As a young woman in my twenties, I was eager to find inspiration and motivation among my peers, holding up other young women, and essentially embarking on a journey of what Sheryl Sandberg would later coin ‘leaning in.’ As such, watching this event grow and the success it continues to garner has shown me the true layers of the Millennial spirit.
Some Millennial dissenters will complain that we are too choose-y, too sensitive, and only do things because of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). But when you peel back the layers, what the Memory Ball team and volunteers have proven is that we are a group of passionate, driven young people who know that if you want to get something done, you’ve got to do it together. The FOMO complex doesn’t just apply to knowing you might be missing the party of the year, it also comes from knowing that you could be making real, positive change, and making connections with people that are both meaningful and significant. A Memory Ball selfie isn’t just about showing your social network what you were up to on a Saturday night, it’s about putting a stake in the ground about the things that matter to you and starting a conversation about a disease that is otherwise considered “only for old people.” Every share, retweet, like, and link is an effort to get engaged, participate and raise awareness for a great cause. Indeed, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have become the primary method through which Millennials create and consume information, and a way to share how they feel and what they feel most strongly about with the world them. These evolving methods of communication are continually changing everything about how we connect to one another. It’s a language this generation not only understands, but speaks fluently. In other words, if social media is a tool, Millennials have written the handbook.
Sitting in Memory Ball meetings, listening to the incredible ideas, passion, and drive that each and every member brings to the table is inspiring. Knowing that we all work fulltime jobs or are in school and still attend evening meetings and take calls on the weekend to make sure that everything is the best that it can be, is anything but lazy and entitled. We don’t assume one ticket sale, one sponsorship, or one media partnership to be promised. We work hard, make connections, spread the word, and raise the bar every single year. It’s not about being choose-y, or sensitive, or having FOMO. It’s about excitement, compassion, and finding a way to make a difference not just as a single person, but as a collective. This is how we define success as a generation, and it’s how we continue to define success for Memory Ball. Year six has big things in store, and I can’t wait to see it all come to life!