GK Teen Leader Mayank on the 2010 National Youth Leadership Conference

Mayank NSLC
This is a report by Mayank, Global Kids teen leader, who participated in the National Youth Leadership Conference from March 24-27, 2010 in San Jose, California. Rik Panganiban, Assistant Director of OLP, co-faciliated the workshops with Mayank. The Conference, with participants from all over the United States, numbering up to approximately 2,500 attendees, is the largest gathering of youth and practitioners involved in service-learning.

There was no end to my excitement. We left New York with a lot of energy. But all the energy went down when we heard that our flight is being diverted to Minneapolis because of the bad weather in Denver.

Thank God! And thanks to Rik, as he booked a hotel for us when we were trapped in Minneapolis or we would have been on the floors without sleep. Four hours of sleep in 2 days but it was worth being in the hotel rather then sleeping in the airport. We still had some hope because we were on standby for the next flight to San Jose, but it was not confirmed so the fear remained. We finally got confirmation for the flight after two days of traveling with so many security checks.

When we got to the San Jose Fairmont Hotel, we were so relieved. Phew! We entered the hotel room and jumped on the beds. That was the highlight for us. Next morning back to work. Woke up at 6:00 and had to go the convention center to prepare our workshop.

I saw some performances but my favorite was the beatboxer. There were some good speakers at the conference. Sir Ken Robinson was really funny. Rik was busy with the “text the mob”.

Time passed by and it was time for our workshop. We had no clue how it was going to be, because it always depends on what kind of people are going to be in the group.

For the first workshop, I was nervous. But the workshop went fine. People were engaged in the activities, though there were more adults in the teenager workshop along with the teens. So it was good that we got to hear different perspectives from different age groups.

After the workshop we went to eat at an Ethiopian place. The food was banging. Then I went to the gym in the hotel so I could fix my back and relieve my muscles. It felt so good. Then we went to sleep after discussing and preparing for the workshop for adults.

The second day was full of positive attitude because we had some good night sleep. The first thing in the morning was the session of the Lost Boys of Sudan. The speakers were great. We broadcasted the live session of the speakers online through smallworlds.com and sudanpeace.ning.com. We had over 50 people watching the live session. The speakers answered questions for the online viewers, as well as the conference attendees.

I also asked a question that I always wondered the answer for: What is the role of the UN in Sudan and where does it stand in protecting people? I asked the question because of the rule that UN soldiers could only shoot at the rebels if they are getting shot at. I had to get that clear myself, “why cant they help people if they see something wrong is going on?” One of the speakers answered my question gently, saying because the UN is more like a negotiator between the countries, it doesn’t want to get involved with any conflicts between the two countries, because it would only create war, rather then peace. We took some pictures with the speakers and one of the speakers played an instrument that he created while he was in the refugee camp.

After that we had some lunch and prepared for the adult session workshop. I felt much more confident after the first workshop and it went smooth and was really good. I had to control my energy and stay in line with the topic of digital media because I am used to regular global kids workshops where you have a topic and you get people engaged in it. So it was a different experience for me.

Now I am on Continental Airlines plane, flying from Houston,Texas to LaGuardia New York. I would like to thank Global Kids for this amazing opportunity. GK all day. And a special thanks to my co-facilitator Rik.