YCI-YMCA Youth Summit Report: June 1- 3, 2011

From June 1st to June 3rd, we hosted a Youth Summit for the YCI-YMCA mentors! The Summit aimed to teach the mentors about the importance of good governance and how they can become active citizens in their community. In addition, we conducted an evaluation in order to gain feedback from the mentors about the successes and shortcomings of their experiences with the mentorship program and what they would like to see from the mentorship program in the future.

The first day of workshops focused on good governance and was led by Katelyn and Julie. The main characteristics of good governance and understanding of the concept was provided. They discussed how everyone has a role in good governance and specifically how youth have a voice. Furthermore, they conducted a role playing exercise for the mentors. The exercise demonstrated how all the players in good governance are interconnected and how they often have to work together to achieve the goal at hand.

Sasha and I led the second day of the Summit on active citizenship and advocacy with the help of a toolkit created by YES Ghana called Keeping the Promise. The toolkit served as a helpful resource, providing youth with access to essential strategies for successful advocacy and partner building. Through this workshop, the mentors learned about the importance of youth participation in active citizenship and how they can advocate youth issues by working to influence their government. Furthermore, the mentors were also educated on how to monitor policies affecting youth and the steps involved in successful monitoring. Throughout the evening, a lot of interesting discussion took part on what youth have done to advocate for youth issues in the past and issues they hope to address through advocacy in the future. The night came to a close with a fun game of Jeopardy on what the mentors learned in the workshop!

The last day of the Youth Summit focused on an evaluation of the mentorship program, which allowed us to gain a sense of what some of the youth have learned and achieved since they became a YMCA mentor. One mentor explained how before he became involved in the mentorship program he had no confidence talking in front of a few people, let alone a large group. The mentorship program gave him the confidence to speak in front of many people which has allowed him to succeed in his business as well. Another mentor claimed that the program has taught her how to write a proper resume, speak in public and educate people on what she has learned at the workshops. Overall, the comments about the program were very positive which gave us all confidence knowing we are contributing to such a worthwhile program. It was really wonderful knowing that the mentors believed that joining the program was “a life changing experience.” I think that all of our experiences with YCI and the mentorship program will be life changing too.

 – Kierra Young, Youth Ambassador, Ghana 2011.

For more volunteer blogs, check out our Travel Diary category.

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