More than 100 teenagers and adults from across South Carolina attended the 6th Annual Youth Summit on July 27th at The Meeting Place Church in Columbia to learn about youth-led policy changes and how to advocate effectively. Hosted by the Healthy Young People Empowerment (HYPE) Project and Eat Smart Move More South Carolina, the Summit featured Leading to Change, a nationally-recognized team building and engagement training agency.
“Leading to Change brought tons of energy to this year’s Summit,” says Trimease K. Carter, ESMMSC youth engagement manager. “Their sessions incorporated singing, dancing, inspiration, and motivation. Based on evaluations and feedback, both youth and adult participants had a great time.”
HYPE Project teams from Orangeburg, Anderson, Kershaw, Laurens, Spartanburg, and Richland counties presented videos on their successes in establishing policy and environmental changes in their communities. Videos highlighted the worked youth have done to implement the following changes:
- Kershaw County: Youth continued their healthy food choices campaign within the community and the school cafeteria by developing an outreach program to teach residents and students about benefits of making healthy food choices.
- Anderson County: The HYPE Team continued their safe physical activity project through park cleanup, installing a Born Learning Trail, and ADA accessible sidewalks.
- Orangeburg County: In addition to continuing their park improvements project, youth focused on educating the public on the dangers of tobacco use.
- Laurens County: The HYPE Team led an effort to revitalize an abandoned ballfield for community use.
- Spartanburg County: The HYPE Team is working with Spartanburg City Parks and Recreation Department as teen ambassadors to help engage more teens with programs and activities.
- Richland County: Youth are working with administrators at W.A. Perry Middle School to create safer routes to school for students.
This year’s Youth Summit also featured six breakout sessions addressing leadership and youth engagement skills. Leading to Change led four breakout sessions where attendees learned about the true colors of their powerful leadership style and about diversity, culture, and commonalities you can’t see.
Kathryn Johnson of LiveWell Kershaw, led a session for youth titled “Hope is Not a Plan of Action.” During this session, attendees identified something they wished to accomplish, and took that “hope” and turned it into “action” by developing a realistic plan.
Finally, three students from TedXYouth@Columbia facilitated a student-led session where participants had a reasoned, informed discussion around a set of current, controversial topics.
“This year’s breakout sessions were a great mix for youth and adults. We hope that attendees learned something that they can take back to their families, schools, churches, and communities,” says Carter.
Winning HYPE Team Videos