Back from the YVC Summit!

Back from the YVC Summit!

On November 2nd and 3rd, Youth Central sent five incredible youth to Charleston, South Carolina to participate in the 2018 Youth Volunteer Corps Summit!





For 25 years, Youth Central has been a proud affiliate of the Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC). YVC began in 1987 as a summer service program for Kansas City youth. Today, YVC is a network of affiliated organizations across the U.S. and Canada running that same program by engaging youth ages 11-18 in team-based, structured, diverse, flexible service-learning opportunities.






At the summit, youth volunteers, alumni and YVC staff celebrated youth volunteerism, shared ideas on how to make the YVC program even better, and participated in a service learning project. The weekend was jam-packed, lots of fun and our five attendees want to tell you all about it!










Martina


Summit 2018 in Charleston, South Carolina was absolutely amazing! I loved being able to meet youth from across North America. It was incredible to see a diverse group of youth volunteers coming together to make our communities (and the world!) a better place. Over the very short weekend, I learned all about sparking change in our community, being a leader within my YVC affiliate and how to promote diversity and inclusion. Through the various workshops and interacting with the youth at Summit, I learned a lot about myself as well. I made a number of amazing friends and it was really eye-opening to be able to learn about their affiliates and where they were from. As an International Youth Advisory Board (IYAB) member, I was finally able to meet fellow members (in-person!) that I had known for months or years!  Being able to interact with these volunteers and other youth from affiliates across America was an experience that I’ll never forget. Summit 2018 was truly unforgettable! 

Martina, rockin' her YVC fanny pack!


Connor


At the YVC Summit, I spent four days relearning why I love volunteering. Although the plane ride was a little rough for me, after meeting all the international volunteers, I got excited to volunteer again! The workshops were such a vital part of the trip. I was able to learn a lot about empathy and equity from guest speakers like Vicki Clark. I also learned some sign language, and I can now introduce myself in American Sign Language! By far my favourite part of the trip was the award ceremony. I was so proud of all the hard work done by YVC in America, but I’m especially proud of the amazing volunteers we have in Calgary, who volunteered thousands of hours this year. At the ceremony, I was fortunate enough to speak about my volunteer experience. I was so nervous! I wrote my speech on an experience I had this summer while volunteering at Camp Bonaventure. I was able to remind the volunteers there and also myself about the importance of living in the moment. I talked about how volunteering helps me to be aware of my surroundings and enjoy the little things every day. I’m so excited to keep that with me as I volunteer back home! Overall, it was a beautiful trip in the very beautiful city of Charleston. I made so many lifetime friends, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity, which has been honestly life-changing and monumental for me. Thank you!

Connor, ready for the awards ceremony.


Lisa


The YVC Summit at Charleston was truly such a powerful and incredible weekend for me. I was able to meet so many kind and wonderful people who deeply cared about making their communities and the world a better place for everyone. I was extremely touched by the empathy workshop and this year’s theme of building bridges, and to promote diversity starting with my own implicit bias. Looking through other people’s ways of life and living in their shoes made me think about my own limits and the different boundaries I could push to develop courage and pursue stepping out of my comfort zone. It was also a chance for me to step back and realize the privileges I held within the Calgary community and in my personal life. After the weekend, I was so grateful to be a part of YVC and share a commonality with these creative and bright youth who faced their own challenges, yet overcame them to help others in their communities. Learning of their life stories and how they came to volunteer was one of the highlights of my weekend as they were all incredible youth with various backgrounds, but came together to generously give to their communities. I was also very happy that I exponentially increased my knowledge of American geography! All in all, I am so thankful to have had this great experience and have been chosen and supported to attend the summit this year! 

Lisa (left), making a new friend.


Kiana





Attending the YVC Summit was an amazing experience! I met so many wonderful people that I will never forget. I learned so much about different cultures and social issues that are facing our world today. Not only, that, but I was able to help make a direct and positive change in various communities. Summit showed me how important and impactful volunteering can be. Volunteering has become one of the core values that I will treasure forever. The sessions were so informative and I got to learn so much about myself! Summit 2018 was a life-changing experience that I will never forget. I encourage anyone who has to chance to go…to go!  



Kiana, excited to start a volunteer project!


Neil







There’s so much more to YVC than what I once thought before. Being able to meet all the different affiliates from North America has broadened my understanding and affection towards YVC as a whole. I never knew that small towns from America could have a YVC consisting of only 20 members and that the youth volunteers there would have to plan projects themselves. There’s so much effort and love that goes into YVC that it makes me so proud to accept the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award 2018. I’m so grateful for everything YVC and Youth Central has done for me, and all the caring staff who dedicate their time to help us grow. Youth Central has been such a huge part of my life this past year, I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without it. I’ve met so many friends and made so many memories that have changed me as a person. I’m more ready for the future than ever now. 



At Summit 2018 I was able to learn about post-secondary options and major tips on how I can stand out as an applicant. I took a workshop on empathy and goals settings lead by the astounding Vicki Clark. However, the most important thing I took away from Summit were the human connections I made. Everyone was so kind and compassionate, I spent my whole time laughing and having fun with people I would have never met otherwise. I loved every part of Summit 2018, I would encourage anyone who would like to go to think about it next year because even though it only lasted for two days, my life has benefited deeply because of it.





Neil (right), with some of the Youth Central crew.
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