International Youth Leadership Summit 2013

So I have had the extreme privilege of being a staff facilitator these last few days at IYLS2013. This has been a crazy experience for me as I only had a few weeks to get ready and make sure all the paperwork was in an I actually knew what I was doing. But it was all totally worth it!

Day 1: Thursday Evening

  • Registration and a quick dinner of pizza (favorite of the students)
  • Opening ceremony (Naheed Nenshi and Gareth Lewis spoke, and they were both excellent! Especially when Mayor Nenshi was stopped by our delightful school board’s firewall… )
  • Breakout into technology sessions – I attended the talk given by Dr. Alex Couros. He spoke about our digital footprints and what comes up when we google ourselves. The most I got out of that talk was to make sure that whatever you found was something positive (a blog, news article, paper you wrote, etc.). It was very inspiring as a teacher. I also have a really neat new text-to-vote poll website. Thanks Dr. Couros!
  • Small Groups Meet – As I was a staff facilitator, I was to organize the groups getting together and get them going on their project for the few days. Their project was to use social /digital media to talk about a local or global issue. My two groups chose to work on homelessness in Calgary and the Calgary Humane Society (which is where I got my cat!). I felt quite happy with their choices as they were not controversial or too difficult to find information on.

Day 2: Friday 

  • Small Group Sessions – Groups met and worked on their projects (both groups started work on a video)
  • Keynote: Amanda Lindhout – Wow. She is an amazing speaker and I really think she got her message across to many of the students in attendance  If you don’t know too much about her, I recommend you look her up. Short version, she was kidnapped in Somalia and was held for over 400 days. She was released upon a ransom being paid. Now she runs Global Enrichment FoundationI was very touched by her talk and I am lucky to have had the opportunity to hear her speak.
  • At this point in the schedule there was a break/snack, and they we were to move to breakout sections, but sadly a little flu caught up with me and I went home to sleep it off.

Day 3: Saturday

  • Kids Go Global – A great talk given by David Chantler about linking global causes with theater and student work! I hope that I can get my school involved with something like that one day. 
  • Group Activity – This was probably the most fun the students had over all the conference. A dance group came in and taught the students how to do a BOLLYWOOD routine. Such a cool experience! I have some video and pictures and they are just so cool to see.
  • Small Group Work
  • Lunch (delicious subs)
  • Final Small Group Work
  • Final Words/Presentations – What a great finale to a superb 3 days. I was thanked for the work that I did (which was marking, having good conversation, learning about some really cool things and having fun), and then we got to watch the presentations that the students had been working on. They were really well done. I was so impressed with the work they accomplished and made me feel like we have a really good group of people growing up to take care of our world.

Thanks to all the folks involved in IYLS2013. I hope I can be a part of it again next year!