Kelsey had no idea what Snowball was when she first attended in 2007, but she went anyway because a high school friend had encouraged her. While the substance abuse prevention and leadership development retreat was a much-anticipated weekend away for many teens, it was friendship that first brought Kelsey to Snowball.

During the several times she attended, friendship was a continued theme for Kelsey as she formed relationships that continue today. At the Snowball retreats she could truly be herself, something she said is often missing from the high school culture. She learned to be confident in who she is. Kelsey describes her Snowball experiences as “the best memories of high school.”

The leadership skills she learned at Snowball were also extremely valuable. Kelsey ended up as teen staff and eventually teen director, which she described as a “jump start” on her leadership path. At Ohio State University, she was in the Scholar’s program focused on leadership and community service. One service project that stands out for her was the “empty bowls” initiative to serve soup to people in need.

Besides helping others, she met someone extra special during that service project and they were married this past October. No surprise, one of her closest friends from Snowball stood up at her wedding.

Today, she and husband Jon live in Dallas, Texas, her Snowball friendships are more meaningful than ever, and she is putting her leadership skills to use as a labor and delivery nurse.

And that’s where Kelsey is now.