This past weekend, our National Youth Activation Committee members were here in Washington, DC for the bi-annual National YAC meeting! 19 youth leaders, along with 14 mentors from their local state Special Olympics Programs, came together from around the country to brainstorm ideas and plan for a great year of projects and activities.
As always – I was blown away by these amazing and inspiring youth leaders who help catapult our movement of acceptance and respect into schools and towns across the country. While there were so many examples of their incredible leadership throughout the weekend, I had to share the results of one particular activity during a professional development session.
In the activity, each National YAC member was asked to develop a quote that expressed their ideas, thoughts, values, feelings or attitudes about Special Olympics, friends, family and/or courage.
The results are amazing. These young people are truly the leaders of today… but they will most certainly be the leaders of the future as well.
“Special Olympics isn’t just for people with disabilities… Special Olympics has helped me find my voice, build my confidence and identify my passion.”
– Kaitlyn Smith, Colorado
“Stop watching every step you take. Close your eyes and let the world surprise you.”
– Shelby Lynne Dial, Wyoming
“Everyone can help create change; you just have to believe in yourself.”
– Heather Glaser, Wyoming
“Let the way you walk and talk exemplify who you truly are.”
– Daniel Fink, Washington
“Leaders don’t follow the path of the past; leaders make their own path. If they are a true leader, no matter the obstacles, they will prevail.”
– Dallas Lopez, Texas
“Everyday a new challenge awaits, it’s up to us to find the right path.”
– Brady Platt, South Carolina
“Our memories define us: every laugh, every kiss, every tear is a part of who we are. So let’s strive to become better people starting with our memories.”
– Rachel Alm, Hawaii
“I am nothing without my Special Olympics family – they encourage and inspire me to be better.”
– Kelsey Foster, South Carolina
“Life with your three musketeers always makes you happy.”
– James Kweon, Idaho
“Change should be respected, not hated.”
– Bernice Higa-French, Hawaii
“Each of us is created with a seed deep within. When you embrace the sunshine of all circumstances and be open to the shower of others’ influence, only then will a beautiful flower grow that will be a gift to the world.”
– Danielle Liebl, Minnesota
“There are four words on the Special Olympics medal: skill, courage, sharing and joy. Skill is the least important because the other three are what win you the gold.”
– Jordan Schubert, Philadelphia
“I want to live in a world where madness is meditated, nonsense is valued, challenges are embraced and fostering creativity and imagination is our greatest objective.”
– Evan Heller, Massachusetts
“Life as a star is like reaching a certain goal. Our favorite YAC family is like a huge star – above and beyond.”
– Tanealya Hueth, Montana