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Youth Leaders Deepen Connections at the Annual Youth Grantmakers Summer Leadership Conference

Youth Advisory Councils (YAC) and YAC advisors from around the state recently gathered for the 32nd Youth Grantmakers Summer Leadership Conference. Centered around the theme Orbit: Many Planets, One Solar System, attendees explored the importance of community and collaboration, strengthening their bonds with one another in support of their communities.  

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Youth Summer Leadership Conference 2024.

The Youth Grantmakers Summer Leadership Conference, hosted by CMF and the Michigan Community Foundations Youth Project (MCFYP) Committee, is an annual event for youth engaged in Youth Advisory Councils (YACs) in Michigan. It aims to emphasize the shared values of YACs and broaden the youth participants' perspectives of their work. 

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Youth Summer Leadership Conference 2024.

YAC members and YAC advisors from around the state gathered for the 32nd conference in June, held at Central Michigan University and centered around the theme Orbit: Many Planets, One Solar System.

The MCFYP Committee, comprised of 13 youth and three adult advisors, leads the conference. The MCFYP committee, with support from the Mawby Intern, is responsible for planning and facilitating all aspects of the conference, including identifying the theme and keynote speakers and developing and facilitating team-building activities and breakout sessions around relevant topics like community engagement, leadership and social justice. 

“Orbit: Many Planets, One Solar System means that while we are all different, we are never alone. We can work together in a community, but we are also all our own unique individuals, and that diversity is what gives us strength,” Alex Carlson, MCFYP Committee member, and YACer from the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation said. 

The conference provides a powerful opportunity for youth to connect and learn from one another. 

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Youth Summer Leadership Conference 2024.

“The theme highlights the importance of community and collaboration. So often, YACs become disconnected from not only the community around them but the greater YAC network at large, and this year at conference, we wanted YACers to focus on reconnecting with that community, strengthening those bonds and expanding their orbits,” T’Emi Oshin, 1st-year MCFYP Committee member, and YACer from the Midland Area Community Foundation said. 

Oshin shared that although YACs may operate differently, they are all focused on their making communities a better place.

“By banding together and sharing our knowledge, we'll all become stronger,” Oshin said.  

Brandon Hofmeister, a 2nd-year MCFYP Committee member and YACer from the Bay Area Community Foundation, shared that the conference theme emphasized the connections that YACs can make to serve the common goal of bettering their own communities.  

“It illustrates how youth philanthropy is ‘out of this world’ and how lucky each of us is to be able to be a part of something greater than ourselves. Simply put, the theme expands our thinking from a singular YAC to a collective group of youth philanthropists addressing the ever-changing needs of the youth,” Hofmeister said.  

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Youth Summer Leadership Conference 2024.

The MCFYP Committee shared that they hope youth participants from YACs across the state collectively built a welcoming and interactive space that allowed for authentic growth and, most importantly, fun throughout the weekend. 

Learn more about youth philanthropy in Michigan. 

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