What would entice high school students to give up an entire Saturday, join peers from other school districts and challenge themselves to focus on opportunities for service and leadership within their own communities? CYL, Colorado Young Leaders, Youth Advisory Board, put together a youth planned and implemented free, full-day event at the University of Denver on February 3, 2018 to drive community need awareness into action. And what a day it was!
Daisy Davis, CYL Youth Advisory Board (YAB) member shared, “It was great to see new people opening up, coming out of their shells, looking for potential within their own communities to serve, to change, to lead.”
Starting the day with inspirational speakers; Nicole Mahobian, CYL Founder, Susan Bachar – Founder of Africa Schools Assistance Project, and Marco Dorado – Manager of Business Operations for the Latino Leadership Institute at DU, the scene was set for students to step outside their personal circle of comfort and respond to needs within their local communities.
Breakout sessions provided that next step. Current CYL students and first-time participants gained direct knowledge and front-line experiences with representatives of causes impacting Colorado local communities: Native American Rights – The Tipi Raisers, Sexual Assault Awareness – The Blue Bench, Healthy Living Conditions for Low-Income Families – Habitat for Humanity, and Outdoor Education – Environmental Learning for Kids. Everyone was given the opportunity to sign up for a hands-on event enabling them to move from “Awareness 2 Action”, the theme of this year’s Base Camp event.
Another CYL YAB member, Riley Ruff, who had collaborated in planning the event admitted, “Some of these organizations I had never heard of, like Blue Bench, for example. I loved taking part in initially communicating with them and getting them to join and support us. There are so many great opportunities to reach out to the community, take part, and make a difference in a person’s life.”
But words are not enough. These participants, along with CYL and newfound friends, put their passion and awareness into action, to combat hunger in Denver. Packaging over 1000 individual meals, in record time, enabled both dedicated and up-and-coming leaders to personally support families experiencing food insecurity. So, then what’s next?
CYL Base Camp sowed seeds of information and invited potential youth leaders to make that next step their own. CYL is divided into geographic chapters with “Summit Guides” piloting the leadership program and providing individual support to their local members. Participants found out that joining CYL is as easy as accessing the website, www.coloradoyoungleaders.org.
Base Camp uncovered many local prospects for action. CYL planned service adventure or community engagement opportunities occur several times within most upcoming months. Students were able to sign-up for events that resonated with them and their passion. Sierra Karas, CYL YAB member shared, “Additionally, throughout the day, CYL both formally and informally encouraged people to find and state their passion. Action/Legacy statements were created. These statements laid out actionable and timely projects participants intended to commit and contribute to. Many chose to share those Action/Legacy statements as evidence of their seriousness in becoming our next generation leaders.”
Why give up an entire Saturday? Be assured, these next-generation leaders will show you, in your own community!