Triangle Youth Leadership Conference Prepares High School Students to Spark Change in Their Communities

Over 70 high school students from across North Carolina took part in the second annual Triangle Youth Leadership Conference on the NC State University campus in November. Participants explored the topic of leadership through an array of sessions that ranged from small group discussions to workshops facilitated by NC State students.

Claire Lucas ‘13 facilitates a session at the Triangle Youth Leadership Conference.

Highlights of the conference included a keynote address by Dr. Tom Stafford, vice chancellor of student affairs, and a panel of accomplished young leaders including Kelly Hook, NC State student body president, Saul Flores, a Caldwell Fellow who completed a trek through 10 countries, and Barton Strawn, a Park Scholarships alumnus who opened his own clothing business while in college.

Created in 2009 by Park Scholars Adam Dunn ‘13 and Steven Mazur ‘13, who now serve as the organization’s co-directors, Triangle Youth Leadership Services (TYLS) is dedicated to the development of leadership skills in high school students. The organization aims to initiate positive community change through empowering youth to actively engage in local leadership.

According to Mazur, the idea for the conference was sparked by the Park Scholarships program at NC State. “The Park program has allowed me to see that being a leader doesn’t mean being the president of everything,” Mazur says. “Our model relies on connecting college students and community leaders with North Carolina high school students so that leadership skills can be passed down to the next generation of change agents.” The group’s inaugural conference was funded, in part, by a Park Enrichment Grant.

Park Scholars Linwood Joyner ‘13, Claire Lucas ‘13, and Andre Waschka ‘13, along with a team of over 30 fellow NC State students, assisted Dunn and Mazur with coordinating this year’s conference at the Talley Student Center.

In terms of the future, TYLS officers are interested in having their idea move beyond North Carolina and expand into chapters at colleges and universities across the country. Recently, a second chapter of the organization has been started at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The NC State chapter is also interested in expanding their event from a daylong conference to an entire weekend event by 2013.

Author: Joshua Chappell ‘14