Josh and I both grew up listening to a kid's radio program called Adventures in Odyssey from Focus on the Family. The show is meant for kids ages 8-12, but it holds up well for older audiences too. Josh and I still listen to them around the house and on long drives, and we're intent on our future children growing up with them as well! Josh even has a T-shirt that he wears often:
Both of us can point to specific AIO episodes that had a major part in making us who we are today. For me, I think of The Pushover, which is about being able to say, "no" and not changing who you are in order to make friends. (This episode is not available online, unfortunately) For Josh, it's an episode titled A Lesson From Mike, which is about a boy who tragically dies, leaving his classmates to realize that they never got to know him. The lesson is to reach out to the loners and the outcasts. Anyone who knows Josh can see how this episode impacted him; he is a master at engaging and encouraging the people he comes into contact with. (You can listen to A Lesson From Mike in its entirety here!)
Marshal Younger wrote both of these episodes. In fact, we learned that Mr. Younger wrote the majority of our favorite adventures in Odyssey! Josh got to the point where he could guess if an episode was written by Younger before the credits were read. Mr. Younger even created my favorite child character, Jared DeWhite (which is probably why I liked The Pushover so much - it's the episode that introduced us to Jared).
So when Josh learned that Marshal Younger lives in Middle Tennessee, Josh sent him a Facebook message letting him know how much his writing has impacted us over the years. Mr. Younger was so kind and suggested we meet halfway at Cool Springs Mall. That's how, earlier this week, Josh and I got to meet a favorite author.
I recognized his voice as "Young Jack" from the episodes when Whit met Jenny (The Triangle, Part I and Part II). This is going to sound like I'm making this up to sound cool, but I always thought that Young Jack's voice sounded so kind, and totally unique. So it was neat to have actual conversations with that voice.
We mostly talked about what it's like writing for AIO, and we just ate that up. It was the coolest experience. But for those of you who aren't as invested in AIO as Josh and I, I'll move along now ;)
It was awesome to talk with Mr. Younger about what we're doing with Blimey Cow. He had actually seen our home school video and thought it was "really fun!" Josh asked his advice for next week's video, and Mr. Younger gave it freely. He was very encouraging, even calling our ideas "clever." He gave us an idea of the way AIO approached sensitive topics, offered advice, and even agreed to look over/critique the next script!
Right before we parted ways, Mr Younger pulled out a fresh copy of his new AIO book, "The Fight for Kidsboro" and signed it for us. It reads:
Josh and Kelli,
It was great to meet you. You've got some fantastic ideas and I can't wait to see them change the world. Keep Listening!
How awesome is that??!!?! I am excited to read them (it's actually four books in one). I don't care that they're meant for kids ages 8-12, I'm curious! He's a great writer, so I'm sure that I'll wholeheartedly enjoy it.
All in all, it was an experience of a lifetime. He was so encouraging, and Josh and I left the mall with our heads in the clouds. If you ever read this, Mr. Younger, we appreciate everything you've done with Odyssey, and for taking the time to actually meet with us... from the bottom of our hearts.
Have you ever had the chance to meet one of your "heroes?"