Three summers ago, I attended a LIFE CHANGING program in Indiana called Leadership Academy. The magic that happens at Leadership Academy has always been kept a secret. However, due to complicated issues involving funding and sponsorship, Leadership Academy is no longer an active program. Considering the profound impact Leadership Academy had on me, I really think it is a tragedy that the program is no longer available. My class, the Class of 2015, was the LAST Leadership Academy class to ever pass through the Circle K International program. (Fun fact: I was recently flown out to Indiana along with a handful of other past-graduates in April of last year to take part in a pilot program that could possibly lead to the return of Leadership Academy!)
At Leadership Academy, I became especially close to one attendee in particular. Her name is Brittany and she has become one of my truest friends. She lives pretty far from me but that hasn’t stopped us from keeping in touch with one another over the years.
Brittany has had a profound impact on me both within the program and throughout life afterwards. While there were quite a few attendees at Leadership Academy, we were also split up into smaller “neighborhoods” where we would get to work with our friends more intimately. Brittany and I were both in the same family/neighborhood (shoutout to my beloved Apples on Jump Street!). Brittany and I partnered up for the very first activity and formed an instantaneous friendship that has only expanded and grown since then. Brittany has been a true friend in every sense of the word and there is a bond between us from Leadership Academy that I really believe will never go away.
After attending Leadership Academy together in 2015, we took a propeller plane into Canada in 2016, visited NYC in 2017, and NOW we crossed paths in Athens, Greece this year!!! It would be awesome to keep up our track record and add new countries and destinations to that list in the years to come!
We got dinner together in the lovely Plaka neighborhood within Athens. Plaka is an old historical neighborhood in Athens. It is one of the most beautiful areas in the city to walk around with its classical Greek architecture and a close view of the Acropolis. Brittany and her friend happened to be visiting Greece at the same time so we decided to meet up and go out together for dinner! From there, we went to their awesome psychedelic, mysterious AirBnB to catch up.
The following day, we took a train to Piraeus. That is one of the main ports in Greece where boats and ferries leave from to visit the other Greek islands! Brittany was leaving for Mykonos the next day along with her friend so I went with them to spend more time with them before they needed to leave for the islands. While spending time with both of them, I got to see what Piraeus looks like firsthand! I helped them move into their new temporary AirBnB and then we got dinner on the marina. It was delicious! We ate as the sunset and enjoyed the most miraculous view.
My hope is that next year she and I can meet up in yet another beautiful part of the world. That would be incredible. Some way, somehow, we will find a way to keep in touch – that, I am sure of. While I try my best to avoid cliches, I really think it is fitting to say that with this, it’s not “goodbye,” but “see you later!”