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Hyrams Selected as Global Youth Leadership Summit Participant

Cuthbertson High School senior, Akilah B. Hyrams, (third from left kneeling over the tree branch) works on a tree planting service project with her team at the Global Youth Leadership Summit on the campus of the University of California at San Diego.

Akilah B. Hyrams, CHS senior, was selected to participate in The Anthony Robbins Foundation Global Youth Leadership Summit held in San Diego, CA from July 26 through July 31, 2011. This five-day program provides participants ages 14 to 17 with an environment designed to boost them into leadership roles that teach each teen how to positively change their lives and communities. The term “global” was certainly justified - one third of the participants were from countries outside of the USA.

The program included small group discussions, hands-on service learning experiences, leadership simulation games and thought provoking exercises. Notable speakers from around the world presented topics designed to enable the attendees to identify their own particular leadership strengths.  Participants were encouraged to identify personal goals and make a commitment to community service as an ongoing effort. In addition, Akilah was selected to take part in the inaugural class of young leaders to receive ongoing mentoring for one year beyond the San Diego session. Hear from Akilah in her own words about the experience…
“Global Youth Leadership Summit was definitely an eye-opening event. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was honored to have the opportunity to attend. The teens were not judgmental so you could just be yourself instead of trying to impress my peers. People were not afraid to share their experiences and situations so that we could learn from each other. It was surprising to hear how much a 14 or 15 year old can go through, no matter where you are from or your background.
At first, I thought the adult presenters were going to be boring and I would have to sit there for hours listening to “words of wisdom” while trying not to fall asleep. Boy was I proven wrong - the speakers were amazing! Everyone connected to them in one way or another. Some speakers got us excited, pumped, and anxious for what they were going to say. Other speakers made you look at something in a new light- like how some of your beliefs can limit you from reaching your goals or how there is power in your choices. There were even a couple of comedians who discussed finding humor in all aspects of life and the power of laughter!
The first thing I learned at GYLS was that the first step to leadership is self-leadership. Change needed to start with me. The majority of the week consisted of us working on ourselves as the first step in any process. We did many activities that helped us see ourselves in a positive light and I felt my confidence become stronger.
The cultural diversity at GYLS was impressive: 24 countries were represented among 140 participants. We were split up into teams; within my team there were 13 kids and 7 countries represented. In these teams, we learned many games and team building exercises. After each game, we would debrief and talk about the skills we displayed while doing that activity. I am proud to say that there were many bonds and friendships created!
Global Youth Leadership Summit was an amazing experience. I learned so much about being an effective leader and I got to know more about myself. If I had the opportunity to go back, I would take it in a heartbeat. Lucky for me, I can go back as an alumni - the opportunities just get better and better!”

Written by: Paula White
Posted: Aug 24, 2011 by Paula White

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