2022 YAG Milestones
First, we finally doubled our 2017 attendance of 50 people and even added a few more, bringing us to a total of 107 attendees! People came from Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, and one fellow even managed to get here from Canada. Eat your heart out, Trudeau!
Second, over the past five-now-going-on-six years, we have had a total of 15 YAG weddings! While we count them a bit like COVID deaths (both parties just had to attend at least one YAG, and it doesn’t matter if they met there or were already dating by that point), this is still a significant indicator that what we do is truly helping young Catholic sedevacantists to find a spouse. You can see pictures over at our YAG Weddings page.
Lots of New Faces
Interestingly enough, when we did roll call, we found that almost half of our attendees were newbies – one star generals, as we call them. In contrast, only four stalwart souls have faithfully attended all six YAGs!
Friday night was laid back and fairly casual, starting at 5 pm with Mass and Confessions followed by a meatless pizza dinner. We were worried all day that we wouldn’t be able to have our bonfire afterward due to rain, but the Infant of Prague came through and we had perfect bonfire weather with very few bugs! The YAGermeister is still in shock that all the s’mores got eaten – this is a first.
There was a bit of a kerfuffle with the dorms at Higher Ground – the massive East Dorm we were in last year required some unexpected maintenance, so they had to put us in a smaller one, but it all worked out in the end.
Saturday morning we came back to SGG for Mass at 8:30 am followed by a breakfast of bagels and cream cheese, fruit, and yogurt, then it was off to Higher Ground to enjoy the rest of the day!
Fr. McKenna gave a great talk on being “Uncomfortable” in the dorm’s air-conditioned conference room. Growth, progress, relationships – all these things require us to get out of our comfort zones!
The weather was overcast all day, which actually worked in our favor – less hot, and not so terribly humid compared to earlier in the week. Renee Arlinghaus filled in for the YAGermeister and took a bunch of pictures of the games both outdoor and indoor – if any of the rest of you have more good pictures, please send them in! Several of our YAG couples dropped by for either volleyball or the square dance that evening.
Higher Ground then fed us a delicious chicken dinner, after which we trouped over to the East Dorm porch for the group picture. This was where the YAGermeister had envisioned taking the group photo last year, except that the rain made us seek an alternate and less favorable location. Matt Giese, one of our 6-star generals, brought a squawkbox microphone, so we were able to get everyone into line in record time!
We had a rather astonishing preponderance of twins among our attendees this year, both real and aspiring, so after the group photo we rounded them up for one as well.
We then trouped into the Life Center, the largest auditorium on the Higher Ground campus, for the square dance. MUCH better ratio of hot people to cold air this year, even if the atmosphere in there isn’t as cozy as the barn. The YAGermeister never did get a count of how many squares we had going at once, but there had to be at least 8 or 9 of them. We had a lot more guys than girls this year, so we would learn the dances with one group, then switch out the guys and learn them again! (Psssst, any single ladies reading this who have been hesitant to come – we have guys here who LIKE dancing!)
Due to the preponderance of gentlemen, the Aherns and the Petrizzis from Virginia suggested a new square dance called “The Ninepin,” which uses one extra person in the middle of the square. We will definitely be making use of this one at future YAGs in addition to our old standards “Texas Star” and “Bill Bailey”!
As a cool-down session between square dances, we learned the basic waltz pattern and then a traveling waltz pattern. Modern dance culture is so horrid that if we want to start bringing back more dignified options like ballroom dancing, we have to start somewhere! The YAGermeister hopes that at future YAGs, we might be able to start learning polka and foxtrot as well so that people can dance to various kinds of music with different tempos.
The waltz session started with all the men on one side of the room and the women on the other to practice the step pattern, and then they formed couples to work on maintaining a good frame (not too tight, not too loose) before trying it all to music.
Several families of YAGers both from SGG and farther afield joined us for the dancing.
Toward the end of the night, we did the Virginia Reel, broken down into 8 or 9 lines of 8 to 10 couples each, and then, by popular request, finished with the Chicken Dance followed by ice cream.
Many thanks to Patrick Klabenes and Noah Kuebler for leading the team to pick up more water and the ice cream, and to Pierce and Andrew Kiernan for dishing it out! Special thanks also go to the Oblate Sisters, to Katherine and Jessica Alepin, and to Nathaniel Arnold for all their help before the YAG got rolling.