Youth LeadershipConference 2021
July 10-12 | Las Vegas
What is the Youth Leadership Conference?
Today’s youth face challenges and choices can be overwhelming and, potentially, devastating. The world they live in is harsh, unyielding, and consumed with negativity, anxiety, and social pressures.
At younger ages than ever before, boys and girls are exposed to issues and decisions that can harm them, alter their life course for the worse, and cause them to doubt or question their confidence and their existence. We’ve seen that reality play out in horrific scenarios. Bullying, virtually and in-person, has led to an exponential increase in teen suicide. Drinking, drug use and sexual activity have become normalized for teens. Violence and depression are more common than ever. The lessons and tests they face are of a size and consequence far greater than any previous generation.
Most youth are ill-equipped to deal with these challenges. Even with the support of loving parents and talented, caring teachers (which, unfortunately, is not the case for many), their support system is insufficient. The reason is simple:
Many young people lack a credible, peer-to-peer environment for them to discuss these issues without criticism and judgment. Rather than focusing on the behaviors or consequences, the conversation needs to start with the underlying VALUES of a successful, fulfilling life, as well as a determination to develop the SKILLS that are necessary to shape one’s future in a powerful way.
Through the NSA Youth Program, young people from the ages of 10-17 become more prepared to deal with these issues for themselves and to intercede and lead on behalf of others. Between the ages of 18-22, they also have opportunities to lead their junior peers and impart the years of wisdom and experience they’ve gleaned from the program.
Young men and women in this program form relationships that are real and wonderful, making friends who live all around the world. They tackle difficult issues together and encourage one another to step up and lead in life.
The speakers, activities, and facilitated conversations, as well as the expected conduct for interaction are informed and guided by NSA’s Core Values.
- Abundant Generosity – A culture of giving, serving, and growing abundance.
- Elevating Excellence – Setting high personal standards and recognizing examples of admirable achievement.
- Intentional Language – Understanding the power of our words, we seek to use them with skill, care, and precision.
- Uplifting Humanity – Practicing inclusion, compassion, respect, and empathy.
- Honorable Innovation – Honoring our rich history and legacy, while recognizing our power to shape change.
We believe that powerful influencers must possess critical skills that enable action. The youth program, with the support and guidance of leading experts, authors, and speakers, aims to emulate and inspire these skills in age appropriate ways.
- Communication – Using speech and writing to effectively persuade and inspire.
- Problem Solving – Using critical thinking to analyze issues, identify problems, and solve them.
- Team Building – Connecting with others of different strengths and backgrounds to work in collaboration.
- Conflict Resolution – Acknowledging disagreement, dissolving anger, and de-escalating confrontations.
- Active Listening – Hearing beyond what is spoken to connect and discern meaning and motivations.
- Leadership – Elevating others, shaping events, and becoming a magnetic force for positive action.
Although the program happens just once a year, for a few precious days, there are elements of continuity and community that continue throughout the year. On their own, the participants stay in touch with friends near and far using technology and social media.
Each year’s Youth Conference ends with a powerful validation of appreciation for one another, as well as the chance to express goals, intentions and commitments:
- What will you do between now and next year?
- What goals will you achieve?
- What new skills will you work on?
- How will this impact others around you?
At the start of the next year’s conference, they can share their progress within their peer groups. How did you do on your goals? Any updates on your projects? What are you working on now? We strive to create an expectation for progress and meaningful growth over the course of time. We take pride in our own and each other’s accomplishments.
Tradition and Legacy
In addition to the educational component of the program, the NSA Youth Conference focuses on having fun, building connection, and being charitable. Many of our events and activities have become deeply embedded traditions that the participants look forward to and remember forever. The NSA Youth program fosters a sense of tradition and legacy, leaving an indelible mark on past and present generations.