Teens Statewide Welcome at ILEAD Virtual Youth Leadership Summit

ILEAD Keynote Speaker Dr. John 'Push' Gaines

ILEAD Keynote Speaker Dr. John 'Push' Gaines

​Teens at ILEAD Youth Leadership Summit will attend virtual workshops focusing on developing confidence, determination, and healthy life balance, even in the face of adversity as young adults. The Summit is set for Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. This free, one-day event is online and open to any high school-aged teen living in the state of Oregon.

"We are excited to welcome our Keynote Speaker, Dr. John 'Push' Gaines to ILEAD," said summit director, Laurie Shaw Casarez. The seven-member youth committee--representing Salem-Keizer high schools--unanimously voted to have a motivational speaker present during the summit's Opening Session and selected Dr. Gaines after hearing his life's story.  

"John faced an incredible amount of adversity and pain growing up.  His nickname 'Push' comes from his belief in the power of perseverance and teaches others to 'keep pushing' through life's obstacles to become the best version of themselves.  He gets it, he lives it, and he comes to bring hope and empowerment to teens."

Youth Committee Member, Adriana Cavazos welcomes teens from across Oregon to ILEAD virtual Teen Leadership Summit.

Youth Committee Member, Adriana Cavazos welcomes teens from across Oregon to ILEAD virtual Teen Leadership Summit.

​The youth committee selected workshop content and presenters that would help high school-aged peers feel more confident when facing future challenges.  Topics address:
  • first generation student life and leadership,
  • how to stay in college once you get there,
  • thriving when exhausted,
  • discovering different leadership styles,
  • leadership skill development using humor and play,
  • overcoming fear of failure and social anxiety, and
  • how to voice teen life experiences in adult settings to create positive change.

"I joined the youth committee this year because the idea of helping all people feel empowered is great in itself," said McKay High School Senior Adriana Cavazos. "This is my first community project experience and I have enjoyed every second of it."

ILEAD is available to teens statewide this year.

"The fact that ILEAD is going statewide this year opens up so many doors," Cavazos said. "All students can interact with one another and gain new perspectives. What gets me excited is thinking about how we get to meet people our age who we probably would not get the chance to meet in this lifetime, ILEAD is bringing us all together."

Registration closes Dec. 10, 2021. Registration link is found on the event website and includes workshop descriptions. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and includes games, challenges, raffle prizes, breaks, a live DJ, lunchtime yoga, an event T-shirt and other swag for all teen participants.

Coordinated by the City of Salem Youth Development Services, ILEAD is produced each year by a youth committee and a planning committee made up of local youth development, prevention, mental health, and work readiness professionals. Marion County Health and Human Services, Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties, and City of Salem are the December 2021 main sponsors.

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Laurie Shaw CasarezYouth Outreach and Education Coordinator
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