Teen Symposium makes a difference for area teens

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Teen Symposium Blog SM

Contributor: Taylor Steinbach, United Way Fox Cities Youth Board Member

Last Monday, the 19th annual Teen Symposium event, sponsored by United Way Fox Cities and the YMCA of the Fox Cities; hosted nearly 300 freshman from the surrounding area, to come and learn how to be leaders within their schools. This year, the theme of the event was “Greatness isn’t always obvious at first.”
 
To kick off the day, freshman listened to Steve Jones, the Head Football Coach and Leadership Teacher at Kimberly High School and an amazing speaker. Coach Jones talked about leadership qualities, as well as the idea that all good things take time. To explain this theme, Jones used the motto “water the bamboo.” The bamboo tree takes four years to break through the ground. Then in the fifth year, in a period of just five weeks it can grow to a height of 90 feet. Coach Jones helped us realize that you have to keep working towards what you want, until it eventually becomes yours.
 
The students were also given the opportunity to listen to two other wonderful speakers. The first being Logan Farrar, Teen Coordinator of the Boys and Girls Club Fox Valley, who spoke about how to manage your stress and time. The other speaker was Vaya Kiel, Director of the PULSE Young Professionals Network at the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce. She spoke about how to turn what you love to do, into a full time job. Both speakers, did an incredible job explaining to teens how to find their way.
 
Between speakers, freshman visited a community resource fair, completed service projects as well as created their own leadership plan, participated in mind and body activities hosted by the YMCA, and talked with a teen panel. Most importantly however, students were able to spend the day expressing their leadership qualities, and learning how they may combine and use them to make a difference.
 
This year’s Teen Symposium was a huge success. As usual, many students started the morning curious and quiet, but left confident and ready to make a difference. Each attendee gained the resources to know that within every one of them there is the potential to make a difference, and with hard work and time, that difference will show.