Say "YES"

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Many of us are lucky enough to know exactly what we were meant to do our entire lives. I am not one of those lucky people. As a child, I dreamed of becoming Elton John's backup pianist on Saturday nights and an Episcopal priest on Sunday mornings.  That was before I heard the wise words of fellow Mobilian Jimmy Buffet, "There's a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning." As an ambitious high school student, I thought Supreme Court Justice had a nice ring to it. As a college student, I imagined myself as a literature professor, advertising executive, entrepreneur, film producer. As a recent graduate, I ventured to Washington, D.C. to became a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist. What do all of these things have in common? None of them involved returning home, back to my roots in Mobile Bay. But one day, I realized I had been asking myself the wrong question all along. It wasn't what I was meant to do, but where I was meant to be.  

While I have friends working for presidential campaigns and Fortune 500 companies, the only place I can now imagine myself is on Mobile Bay working with others to transform this community. I meet with like-minded citizens to brainstorm how we'll create a trail that connects Three Mile Creek, Mobile Bay, and Dog River. With countless other volunteers, I ride on litter boats in our creeks and rivers rescuing abandoned tires, cans and plastic bags from the water's clutches. On a Saturday morning, I find myself collecting apple snails, an invasive species, because I can't stop envisioning that Langan Park will be the Central Park of Mobile one day. And I'm not alone. There's an entire organization of 4,000 people who share my vision and don't settle for the status quo. 

When I was asked to become the president of the Young Advisory Council for Mobile Baykeeper, I said "yes" because everyone deserves clean water. Everyone deserves the opportunity to throw a cast net, kayak a creek, and swim in the bay. I said "yes", because nothing makes me happier than seeing my nephew MacGuire float in Mobile Bay. I said "yes" because I can't transform this community alone -- but I can surrounded by an inspiring group of visionaries. Now, we need you to say "yes",too. Say "yes" to a father teaching his son to fish. Say "yes" to West Indies salads, oyster eating contests and shrimp and grits . Say "yes" to jubilees, regattas and mullet tosses. Say "yes" to restoring the Gulf Coast. Say "yes" to Mobile Baykeeper. 

- Laura Byrne, Young Advisory Council President