The National Youth Leadership Training event in Minnesota, sponsored by the National Youth Leadership Council, was a meaningful experience for my students, as well as for me as an educator. I sent off two of my students not knowing what to expect or how they would feel about the training. When I came to the site with all of the other mentors on the fifth day the campers had been there, I was amazed to see their glowing faces as they ran up to me to tell me all about their week. They had spent five days camping in the wilderness, completing various simulations, participating in team-building and service-learning projects — all of which tested their will power, their influence on others, and their beliefs. The students took part in activities and discussions that challenged their ideas of justice within the education system and what rights they are entitled to as students and, more importantly, as human beings.
Over the next two days, I worked with my two students on a service-learning project that we could take back to our school using the leadership skills and knowledge about the achievement gap that they gained while at NYLT. I felt so proud to see my students excited and engaged in creating a project that would benefit other students, our school, and our community.
Niki Moylan, Teacher at Kelvyn Park High School
The National Youth Leadership Training this summer was amazing. I had so much fun getting to know new people from all around. I loved the whole point of the camp. They taught us so much and changed us in so many ways. The first 24 hours were my favorite because we got to know each other and do all types of challenging activities. Most of us got to do things that we have never done before — like camping, building a fire, and canoeing. That was exciting. We arrived to the camp area where all the cabins were and had time to learn more about one another.
Morning exercise was my second favorite part of the program. We got to run and we discovered that many of us were into cross country and track. We ran every morning. I got to relate to other participants and found out that we had so many things in common. It brought us closer. We had no trust for each other at the beginning, but towards the end we all got along and trusted each other like a big family. This camp has taught me so much that will follow me throughout the rest of my life.
Jorge Zamora, Student at Kelvyn Park High School