Guam – April 12, 2013 is the first of the 3-day annual Youth for Youth Conference. Since its early establishment in 1988 as Dededo Drug-Free Organization, Youth for Youth LIVE Guam continues to reach out to the young population of Guam and the Pacific with a focus on youth empowerment in the movement against substance abuse and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
This year, the youth-oriented and youth-led community group chose to go back to basics in addressing the issues they face today. This is also the foundation in which the group was built on 25 years ago – the idea that the youth can use their positive and creative energies and inspirations to promote change and influence among their peers.
[After months of preparation and training, the YFYLG Conference Planning Committee is excited for the BACK 2 BASICS: 23rd Annual Youth for Youth Conference to be held on April 12 – 14, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Guam. ]
This year’s theme, BACK 2 BASICS: the 23rd Annual Youth for Youth Conference, encourages today’s youth to consider a different perspective on the influences around them. Conference Chair and YFYLG President, Caleb Skvaril, shares: “Sometimes, all we have to do is stick with the simple things in life to be happy, whether it’s family, friends, hobbies, or even music! We don’t have to resort to drugs or alcohol to have a good time or feel better.” Everyone deserves to live a positive and healthy life. Skvaril adds that it is the group’s goal for the participants to realize that they can make this choice for themselves.
YFYLG Alumnus and the conference adult chairperson, Sean Rupley, is excited to introduce this year’s keynote speaker. “I was given the opportunity to attend a Youth to Youth International conference in 2010, and this is when our youth group met Mr. Ty Sells.” Sells is the current Director of Training and Development for Youth to Youth International, the non-profit, youth-oriented organization in which YFYLG was based upon. “Aside from his credentials as a speaker and a Certified Prevention Specialist with over twenty years of experience in drug prevention and community services, it is his charisma that captured us during his presentation.” Sells developed this over the years he spent working closely with the youth. He has gained first-hand knowledge of the joys and challenges of being young today.
Sells is scheduled to provide a keynote presentation on the third day entitled “The Power of Acceptance,” which is a comical discussion that challenges students to examine the way they treat others who are different from them. He will also provide two small-group workshops during the conference: TENSpiration – the Attitude to Change your World, and Lead Now.
YFYLG ALUMNA GIVES BACK
Rupley is not the only familiar face that the group will see this weekend. Along with alumni members who are coming back to volunteer and contribute to the conference is Tia Sablan. She has been captured with the work that YFYLG does since she was a member, and is now eager to come and give back to the group. “I believe that the youth has it in them to change their island. Six years ago, Youth for Youth ignited a passion in me that changed my perspective forever. I vowed that my voice would never again be lost in the noise of the world,” shared Sablan. “It is my hope that the youth who attend the conference leave with a better outlook in life, and continue the legacy of the Youth for Youth movement.” Sablan will be presenting on Suicide Prevention on the second day of the conference, April 13, 2013, and will be providing a Zumba Fitness® workshop throughout the conference.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Adult co-chair Mikayla Legaspi says that there are a total of 55 youth members trained as facilitators for this year’s conference. “Our deepest gratitude goes out to the volunteer staff trainers, most of whom are YFYLG alumni themselves. With their guidance, we were able to prepare all of our members to know their assigned topics, and more importantly learn to connect with and provide help to the conference participants.” Close to 300 middle and high school students from Guam, Tinian and Rota are expected to attend the 3-day conference. Trained facilitators will provide small-group workshops in various prevention topics such as Underage Drinking, Bullying, Suicide, Leadership and Online Safety. The participants can also expect to be assigned to designated family groups, who will serve as their close-knit groups that will focus on applying the social issues presented throughout the conference into real-life situations through activities such as storytelling circles, and web of friendship.
Due to the overwhelming response received from the schools in the region, YFYLG regrets to inform the community that registration is officially closed. All students whose registration was confirmed must be present with their assigned chaperones at the Hyatt Regency Guam Main Ballroom Foyer at 7:30AM on Friday, April 12, 2013. Conference agenda and workshop descriptions are available on the group’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Y4Yliveguam.
For other information, contact Youth for Youth LIVE Guam at 477-9079 through 9083, or visit www.peaceguam.org.