For the first time since beginning the Youth Summit seven years ago, the event sold out with 165 youth and adults from around the state in attendance, that’s an increase of 62 percent compared to last year. Over 16 groups representing 12 of South Carolina’s counties gathered for a fun day at Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens to learn about the importance of being One CommUNITY and to celebrate the successes of Eat Smart Move More’s Healthy Young People Empowerment (HYPE) Project youth teams.
The July 23rd event is not just about healthy eating and active living but includes social justice issues of the past and present to help youth connect their work with policy change of all topics. Dr. Jennifer Gunter and Preston Clinkscales of the SC Collaborative for Race and Reconciliation kicked of the Youth Summit with an activity that explained the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the real stories behind remarkable change.
Keynote Speaker Moses Washington, a 2019 Morehouse College graduate and former Bamberg County HYPE Team member, shared his story with attendees and left them with tips for being successful. Moses stressed the importance of getting involved with community groups, organizations, and causes to help build leadership skills. He also encouraged youth to set life goals and to work hard to achieve success.
During a special session, youth created posters in support of ESMMSC’s SNAP incentives campaign. “These kids did a fantastic job at designing posters that we will use as postcards to reach out to our legislators,” said Phil Ford, ESMMSC’s Policy and Advocacy Manager. “We will display the posters at the Leadership Summit in October and let our partners choose the winning designs.”
During the Youth Summit, we also recognized HYPE Teams who participated in video contest. The first-place winner was Live Oak AME Church (Richland County) and the second-place winner was St. Peters AME Church (Colleton County). After a morning of sessions, youth explored the zoo while completing a scavenger hunt. Not surprisingly, many youth indicated that the scavenger hunt was their favorite part of the day and for several attendees, it was their first time ever visiting Riverbanks Zoo.
The Youth Summit was made possible by our generous supporters: