Youth 2 Youth Training

Over the summer, seven students from Irvington High School attended a Youth 2 Youth Leadership Conference in New England. One of our students, Natalie K., wanted to share her experience.

I loved my experience at Youth 2 Youth  (Y2Y) and am already looking forward to hopefully attending again next year! Y2Y was a brand new experience for me and at first it was overwhelming seeing how many people had already been coming to the conference for so many years. But the setup of the day and the activities immediately allowed for me to make amazing friends who truly helped make my experience even better. From having family group sessions where we got to know about 13 other kids well, to energizers that helped get the energy flowing in the room for the day. Everything was well planned, fun and happy.

The conference was a great combination of fun and learning without sometimes even realizing it. I had no idea what to expect at first and getting there I immediately felt such a positive feeling. People would just come up and start talking to me or introducing themselves which is something I wasn’t so used to but it gave me such a happy feeling throughout the whole conference. Everyone was there for almost all the same reasons and having that made the experience and environment very positive.

Besides meeting people and having fun, we all sat through some very emotional family group sessions and listened to incredibly powerful and moving speakers throughout the conference. One speaker, Cara Filler, left many in the room in tears and I constantly think about what she had told us relating to the effects of distracted driving and decision making. Her speech was incredibly emotional but also very informative as it made most people realize how much you can learn from others experiences I would love for her to come to Irvington as she was incredibly impactful and an excellent speaker. The other speakers at the conference were also great but I left the conference with different thinking and feelings after Cara and I still think about what she shares with us everyday.

Family group allowed for me to have 13 people that I knew and could always rely on while at the conference and from that I ended up making a good friend who then introduced me to more people. I liked that they had teenagers who were either the same age as some of us or older as youth staff because that gave a more welcoming and understanding feeling for some people when talking in family groups.

We had chosen workshops in the beginning of our arrival and I was so shocked to see how many options there were. All 4 of my workshops (2 each day) were different from each other and I came out of each having a different understanding about the topic. Whether it was talking about the effects of drugs on a person and their options, talking about stress, peer pressure, and being a team leader each had a well thought out plan, activity and/or discussion.

We met up twice with people from Westchester who were also at the conference and all contributed our ideas and listened to what others were hoping to bring back to their school. We came up with some great ideas for the Rivertown’s and also specifically for Irvington.

Everyone there was super nice and friendly and it was truly an awesome experience that I have already shared with some of my friends and family. It was a very busy 4 days and I am so glad I was able to attend and learn so much in that time frame. Thank you so much for all your support and for making it possible for us to go to this amazing conference.

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