Updated: Mar 11, 2019
For those people who were not at Holy Smoke, you really missed out! If you do not know what Holy Smoke is, it is a massive event where everyone smokes cigars, drinks, and eats surf & turf. There were around 450 people at the event who all seemed to be enjoying themselves. It showcased the Island, but also the recovery ministry that the Island provides. People were at Holy Smoke to have a good time but were also there to support the Island in its mission to integrate its residents back into society. The Island was able to raise lot of money that night, and it was a privilege to see how generous the attendees were.
Prior to the event I knew I was going to be working check-in and check-out, but during the event I was unclear what my duties were. So, I took it upon myself to enjoy the event! I purchased a ticket, smoked my cigar, and enjoyed a Jamison and ginger; I maybe even had two of them. I spoke with a lot of different people letting them know that I was an intern on the Island and listened to what the Island meant to them. So many people come to the Island for peace and quiet, mainly to disconnect from the world, but many of them know someone struggling with addiction and believe in the program Enders Island provides. People want to see the Island prosper, but also see its residents live fulfilled lives.
After multiple trips to the raw bar enjoying crab legs and oysters, everyone shuffled into the tent for the main course. By this time, I was instructed to record one of the speakers who once was a resident of the Island. I knew that I was on a time limit, so I did something really bad; I cut the line… I am not a patient person, but I knew people would understand that I was working the event and would let me slip in front of them. But cutting lines is still awkward because I am 6’4’’, so when I cut a line even the people last in the line see it. After I got back to my seat, I started to enjoy some of the best surf and turf I have ever had. Enders Island knows how to make really good food! As I finished my meal and headed back for seconds, Kelly, the event manager, told me that they need my help at the check-out area. I was a little bummed, but I knew that I was there to help not to luxuriate. I realized fairly quickly that there was an issue, and we were at Defcon 1.
When I got to the check-out area, I noticed my supervisor, John, was laser focused on his computer trying to prep the check-out system. I began to help other volunteers, when Father Tom stole me for an errand right before I was supposed to record the speaker. I sprinted, in my suit, across the Island to get something for Father Tom; and somehow made it back 2 minutes before Mathew started his speech. It was a very moving speech, and really put my life in perspective. I live a very blessed life and hope that I never find myself in the situation Matthew was in; and if I do, find the courage and perseverance to handle it like he did. After the speech, Father Tom started the fund-a-need part of the night; where people raised their bid number and donate in different levels to support the Islands residence. If Father Tom was not a priest, he would make an amazing businessman because he sold 30 pairs of his socks at $1,000 a piece; I was dumbfounded after watching that. After the fund-a-need portion of the night was finishing up, I headed to the check-out area to see that John was still working away at prepping check-out.
It was crunch time for John, and people were starting to line up to check out. It was getting to that time at the party where you have had enough and are ready to head home. I noticed quickly that people were growing a little impatient, I turned to Kelly and asked if I should say tell jokes to maybe lighten the mood. She was not opposed to the idea, so against all odds I got up in front of the crowd and started telling the cheesiest puns to buy any amount of time for John. It was very embarrassing, but John was able to finish the remainder of the prep work and save me from a very tough crowd. After that, it was smooth sailing and all that was left was to clean up. It was a great night, and I am enjoying every day of my internship. I finished all my interviews with the residents and am working on the first video now, so make sure to check out the Enders Island Youtube page toward the end of summer!
P.S. Here is the video I recorded at Holy Smoke with Mathew Gregoire. Sorry for the shakiness at the beginning. Like I mentioned above, I set up very quick! Enjoy!