Sunday, July 13, 2008

Emerging Leaders

The theme of the second annual Youth Empowerment Summit is "emerge" — emerging leaders and emerging communities. More than 70 young people from nine cities across the United States are coming together this week to be a voice for change in their communities. While the policies they plan to present to their members of Congress vary, each team has the same goal of bettering their community.

The Albany team performs their cheer for all the YEP delegates.This year upon arrival, each delegate received a backpack filled with goodies, including a disposable camera to document their experiences this week. Both before and after the official program ended, some of the teams took to the streets to get a first-hand look at some of the sites in the nation's capital.

The evening's official program kicked off with each city coming up with its own unique cheer. The creative juices were flowing for that exercise.

Youth culture specialist Jeremy Del Rio was the first speaker of the week. He exhorted the young people to "take to heart the lessons you've learned for the past six months [of the Youth Empowerment Project.]" He encouraged them to "be courageous enough to ask for big favors so that our cities and communities might eventually be transformed."

Hannah Alley, of the Picayune, Miss., team, says of the six months of training involved in the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP): "My mindset definitely changed. I learned that I really can make a difference. We don't have to wait on the government. We can go home and make a difference."

The team from Picayune, Mississippi explores Georgetown.Jacob Hickman, also of the Picayune team, says being involved in YEP was "something I couldn't pass up." He says he sees the policy recommendations his team will present as "a seed that will emerge as a beautiful flower." He describes the training as "exhaustive and exhausting." However, he says he now feels like "every member of our delegation are all qualified to be trainers [now] because of the structure of the [YEP] curriculum."

Tomorrow's schedule is packed full of more training opportunities for the delegates with workshops, lectures, and more time to explore!

Laura Reinhardt, assignment editor for World VisionPosted by Larry Short on behalf of Laura Reinhardt in Washington D.C. Laura is Assignment Editor for World Vision in the United States and is currently on assignment at the Youth Empowerment Summit.

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