We held our First Annual Youth Empowerment Summit at Woodland Community College on March 14, 2018. There were 74 students attending, along with 22 local elections officials there to speak to students about local government and how to contact your officials.
We wanted students to know that their opinions are important. To show the effect of voting with a real payout, students were able to vote on what kind of pizza we would order for lunch. We created ballots that looked just like the official ballots in Yolo County, and students used those ballots to decide their options for lunch.
The goal of YES! is to empower students to be civically engaged and seek leadership roles in their community. To reach this goal, we had several group sessions throughout the day, on topics such as leadership, public speaking, the election process, and why youth voting is important.
The local elected officials who attended the event were encouraged to arrive for lunch and sit and talk with the students. After lunch, there were round table discussions with those elected officials on topics such as safety and the environment.
Every student who attended got a YES! t shirt and notebook. Additionally, when students answered questions they received raffle tickets with the opportunity to win prizes donated by our sponsors.
Our 2018 Youth Empowerment Summit was a great success, and we are so excited to do it again. Our goal is to have 100 students from all across Yolo County in attendance, with a greater opportunity to talk to elected officials and even more prizes to win.