March 21st was a big day for us at YoungLeaders.World. In addition to it being the third annual YL.W Summit in Edmonton, it was also the last big event for us during the 2016/2017 school year. We were excited to see that it would also become the biggest summit in YL.W history. We sold out with over 2000 change makers in attendance.
Many students were unaware of what would be to come for the day ahead, but DJ SMOH!KE hyped up the students and set the tone for the summit as they gathered inside the Northlands Expo Centre. Our hosts, YL.W Team Member Lauren and CTV Meteorologist Josh Classen prepared for their introduction… But not before Josh could take photos with fans!
We had a special video message from one of our good friends, Jeremy Courtney. As the head of the Preemptive Love Coalition, Jeremy and his family have spent the last several years in war- torn areas of the Middle East in an effort to repair communities. The clips he provided of the areas that he was working in were extremely impactful and changed perspectives for many of our attendees. Following Jeremy’s message, our co- founder Carla Cuglietta took the stage and spoke about her involvement in communities around the world and how one person’s idea can change the lives of many. She was later joined by Chris Koch, who has used his life to turn unusual circumstances into extraordinary changes. When Chris was born, he was missing his arms and legs. Through the support of his family, Chris began to work with War Amps early on in his life and later became a motivational speaker whose motto is “If I Can…” We were very excited to announce that Chris would be joining us on some of our world tour stops for our next season!
We were then joined by Tyler Waye, who spoke about Personal Leadership. Tyler has become a local celebrity for his work with leadership strategy, and has worked with businesses, organizations, and students.
During the lunch break, students got to participate in immersive activities that developed the understanding of local and global issues. The biggest example of this was the food itself. Students were given a lunch based on the situations of different individuals throughout the world. Students who were given a “local lunch,” for example, ate based on the type of food and the amount of food they would have gotten at the Edmonton Food Bank. We were joined by many local and national organizations who provided resources and opportunities for volunteer involvement in the Exchange Zone.
Jesse Lipscombe is well- known for many things: acting, athletics, activism… The list goes on. This past year he started the #MakeItAwkward campaign after being harassed for his race. He spoke to us about the importance of standing up for issues in your community. Don’t be afraid to call people out on their prejudice with #MakeItAwkward.
Gracie Schram is only 19 years old, but has already raised tens of thousands of dollars for children in need around the world. How? Through her music. For the past decade, Gracie has been writing and performing songs around the world. Most recently, she toured with David Archuletta! At our YoungLeaders.World Summit, she spoke about the importance of being yourself and never being afraid to take risks and make a change. After, she and our musical guest Paul Woida performed a song for Jeremy Courtney and the communities that he is helping.
And that’s a wrap. Until next year, Edmonton!
by Lauren White