Friday, June 19th, 2015 - Saturday, June 20th, 2015 Holiday Inn, Kearney, NE
June 19th, 2015 marked the first day of the 6th Annual Nebraska Youth Leadership Summer Conference. Members from all councils traveled to the Holiday Inn in Kearney, Nebraska to participate in activities focused on organizing and enhancing the Nebraska Youth Leadership Council as a whole. Friday night was spent networking between NYLC councils and parents. The council enjoyed pizza while watching, "Monica and David", a documentary about a couple with Downs Syndrome. The members then had a discussion about the experiences the couple had in their life, including with parents, employment and their disability.
Saturday's activities started bright and early. The regional councils, Northeast, East, Central, West and State Advisory, broke into groups to create topic specific Power Point presentations. These presentations will be used at regional conferences where transition students are in attendance. The NYLC members focused on topics including; self-led IEP's, self-advocacy, and transitioning to college or work. Members then presented the Power Points to the whole council as well as attending parents and guardians.
This years keynote speaker was Haley Waggoner. Haley presented "Spotlight on Haley Waggoner". She discussed her time as an NYLC member and highlighted her involvement in the NYLC, as well as how it has influenced her as a person. Haley recently turned 25 and has finished her term with the council. She originally joined the East council but finished her term as a member of the State Advisory Council.
In the afternoon, NYLC member Addy Hunter, led an activity to create NYLC's mission statement. Addy did an excellent job. She listened to each regional councils ideas and facilitated the activity successfully. The following mission statement encompasses what members believe they stand for: NYLC was created "by youth for youth". We are leaders and self-advocates who experience a disability. We travel the state promoting disability awareness and educating our peers on transitioning to college or work.
Next, council members voted on seated NYLC positions with the Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) as well as the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). Members were to submit their nomination along with reasons why they would like to hold the spot. NYLC member, Samantha Jacobson - Northeast council, will hold the SEAC seat for NYLC and Gina Geiger - Central council, will hold the SRC seat. Members will attend the council meetings and report back to NYLC on how they are providing a youth perspective to their respective council.
Members also had a great time reconnecting with old friends and meeting new council members. Activities to create networking opportunities and team building were also enjoyed. Persuaded by some of our more convincing NYLC members, parents even got involved in some of the festivities.
Speaking of parents, those in attendance were able to listen to speakers while their members were working on projects. Jackie Brown, Project SEARCH teacher, Papillion La Vista Schools Embassy Suites, presented in the morning. She spoke with parents and guardians about Independence and Employment and discussed her role as a Project SEARCH teacher. Ryan Stamm, Disability Support Services Counselor with Metropolitan Community College, presented in the afternoon. He discussed transitioning from high school to college and what happens to students' accommodations once they leave high school? Members were also invited to listen to the keynote speaker before lunch.
The members enjoyed the hands on approach of this years summer conference and are already looking forward to planning next years leadership conference!
For additional information about upcoming NYLC activities, please contact Elizabeth Paesl, firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-670-1437 (text available).
The Pathway to Employment Video Series is designed to de-mystify the many services provided to clients and businesses while highlighting the innovation that is the culture of Nebraska VR. While certainly each story is either one of progress towards an employment goal or a client's employment goal success, they are also stories about the important role played by staff members, businesses, ATP, Easter Seals, Project SEARCH, and others. Go to: vr.nebraska.gov/videos/