More than 100 teenagers from rural Nevada are on campus at the University of Nevada, Reno this week for a program that trains youth leaders interested in community service projects.
The Summer Youth Leadership Summit is part of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension's Engaging Youth Serving Communities (EYSC) program. The program is in the second year of a grant awarded from National 4-H Council. The EYSC program is implemented in the rural communities of Yerington, Silver Springs, Smith, Hawthorne and Pyramid Lake.
Program coordinators Jessica Angle and Sarah Chvilicek said summit participants are representing the communities of Yerington, Pyramid Lake, Smith, Silver Springs, Hawthorne, Dayton, Fernley, Virginia City and Schurz. Participants are youth ages 14-19 years old and adults from each community.
"One of the main goals is that youth and adults learn how to work together in partnership to improve local communities," Angle said.
Chvilicek said the youth will be involved in a whirlwind of activities designed to increase life skills and leadership to be able to more effectively address the needs of their community. Most have already identified a specific need in their communities and are busy carrying out projects to address those needs. The summit will give them the skills and tools they need to succeed.
"We'll have workshop sessions on teambuilding, public speaking, higher education, budget and personal finance, and leadership. This Youth Leadership Summit is designed to inspire youth and adults to become active partners in their communities in a positive an impactful way," Chvilicek said.
A key part of the summit will be the community service projects participants will perform during their time in Reno. Some participants will volunteer at Rancho San Rafael Park, where they will plant trees and move sod, while others will be working at the Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission and the mission's warehouse. Youth and adults will have the opportunity to learn generosity by giving back through these community outreach organizations.
"The experience will be something they can bring back to their communities and remember throughout their lifetime," Angle said.