|MVYLI's Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development|
June 22- 28, 2013
Joe Kevin Burchill
Sherry Anne Pancho
Lana'i Caroline Stuck
The MVYLI Annual Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development was held from June 22-28. The Summit inspires, educates and empowers young people to take initiative in their lives and on their island. This year's Summit was dedicated to Nelson Mandela. Each day we chose a Leadership Theme: Connection, Intention, Joy, Commitment, Compassion, Courage.
Vineyard youth (ages 14-21) were nominated by schools, non-profit organizations, and community leaders to serve as delegates. During the weeklong intensive leadership training youth envision their personal, professional, island and planetary goals. This year's youth delegates aspire to become entrepreneurs, doctors, psychiatrist, and physical therapist, sustainable architect, interior designer, pastry chef, scientist, dermatologist, biomedical engineer, public relations, music industry, technology, international relations, political science - and "at least a Senator."
Youth started with a reflective walk on Lucy Vincent Beach, where they sang a chant to honor Mother Earth; found a "magic stone" and designed a beach mural that represented all island youth delegates. It was the most diverse Summit - with flags representing youth delegates from 16 countries and U.S. states. The Summit featured three Skype video sessions - starting with MVYLI youth leader Lucy Norris in Argentina. Trevor Tanaka shared his successful journey with his Sustainable Education Resolution. Hawaiian youth thanked Ian Kitajima, Oceanit for his support in getting airline sponsors for their flights to the Summit. Lilly Neville brought gifts from Spain!
Sustainable Vineyard Tour
The Summit began with a Sustainable Vineyard Tour. Vineyard youth met the Island's leaders including Wampanoag entrepreneur Juli Vanderhoop at Orange Peel Bakery, award winning organic groundskeeper Jeff Carlson at Vineyard Golf Course, business owner Steve Bernier, Cronig's Market Solar Project, Richard Saltzberg, Eliakim's Way, Keith Wilda at Thimble Farm whose 5-year plan is to feed the Island's school children. On Sunday, youth ventured out on kayaks to learn about the fragile beauty of the Island's waters with Kate O'Donnell at Trustees of the Reservation at Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge and finished with lunch at the Chappaquiddick Community Center. By learning first-hand about the Island's green projects, youth were inspired to help make them happen!
Vineyard Sustainability Best Practices
Signe Benjamin shared the Vineyard Conservation Society's goal of "Vineyard lawns" to reduce the use of chemicals that pollute our lakes. "There are 25 people that have the 'Vineyard Lawn' sign on their lawns," she said. After hearing Signe speak, Vineyard youth were empowered to encourage their families to have chemical free lawns. They all went home and asked their families "what do you put on your lawn." They even came up with the idea of creating a stamp or a blue ribbon commission to encourage more people and businesses to adopt chemical free landscaping.
At Island Grown Schools Kaila Binney has encourages Martha's Vineyard schools to tie their gardens into a curriculum in the classroom. Youth are learning how to garden while learning about local foods and promoting the locally grown food movement on Martha's Vineyard.
Youth learned about global issues and sustainability initiatives from around the world. Boston University graduate student Ben Thompson inspired youth with the 350.org's Fossil Fuel Divestiture Campaign to join the climate movement and find their own ways to make a difference. Emily Nuss presented Funding Your Dreams describing how she raises resources for Kids to Kids, a non-profit she founded in the 6th grade to help children in Dominican Republic and Rwanda, Africa. Alex Frost, a leader of sustainable island best practices Hawaii, Island of Wight, England, El Hierro Island, Spain, New Zealand and Iceland.
What Sustainable Practices Are Happening in the World?
After listening to these amazing presentations, youth delegates had a roundtable discussion about the sustainable practices in the world today and what they could put to use. Buy local foods or grow your own foods; buy smart, be aware, spread awareness; encourage less packaging; reduce paper at school; ride bikes and take the bus; conserve energy (turn off lights, less A.C., etc.); efficiency; reusing clothes; electric cars; Pinterest for Do It Yourself projects; and support 350.org's Fossil Fuel Divestiture Campaign. When Alex Frost asked the question: "How do we make green living affordable?" Youth reflected on the importance of inviting those who actually have the resources to adopt green lifestyles (electric cars, solar panels, etc.) as well as to invest in green projects and companies that are building a more sustainable world.
Professional Development Workgroups
Each afternoon, youth delegates worked with seasoned leaders and college students to explore their dreams for their lives. MVYLI Alumni Julia Cooper shared her experience with MVYLI's Job Shadow Day and
Bella El-Deiry encouraged youth to sign up for the MVYLI College Prep, Field Trip & Scholarship Program. Emerging Leaders from the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico shared their 10-year success stories. Top model Kassandra Castillo shared her journey with successful business ventures and Josue Cruz, a second year law student spoke of Youth Leadership Opportunities - and encouraged youth to make the most of MVYLI's year-round program.
Youth joined professional development workgroups to explore their career options with seasoned youth and professionals. These discussions allowed the youth to really dig deep and think about the steps they needed to take in their lives to realize their dreams for their life. They were encouraged to develop a 5-year action plan to help keep them on track. Business & Entrepreneurship, Kassandra Castillo; Political Science/Law, Josue Cruz; Public Health, Nicole Garrity; Global Health, Emily Nuss; and Technology, Marsha Reeves-Jews.
What is My 5 Year Action Plan?
Youth delegates were asked to envision the steps towards their dreams - from 1 to 5 years - for their personal, professional, and island dreams. They were encouraged to think about who they would like to invite to be on their Sustainability-In-Action Project teams - and which mentors might be supportive and strategic.
Sustainable Vineyard Map & 2020 Project
Mary Ollen, Isabel Smith and Nathaniel Horowitz are championing the Sustainable Vineyard Map & 2020 Project. They are building on MVYLI Visioneer Emma HallBilsback's work started two years ago with her team of Cerina Gordon, Eva Faber, and Andrew Randall. The MVYLI Map & 2020 Project group will spotlight sustainable businesses on the Island -- restaurants that buy local, green hotels, farms, renewable energy sources, as well as culturally sustainable places. "We hope the MVYLI Map will encourage "green tourism" on the island and promote Martha's Vineyard as a model for sustainable living, encouraging tourists and Islanders alike to support their growth and development," says Mary. "Next year the map will be available in an online format through Google Earth as at the MV Chamber of Commerce."
Cultural Sustainability Project
Lucie Dougherty-Soares was the scribe for the MVYLI Cultural Sustainability Project with Amoy Ferguson, Taynara Da Goncalves, Silas Berlin, Toron Deluz, Marcelle Alves, Oshantay Waite with Kassandra Castillo and Marsha Reeves-Jews. We at the Martha's Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative believe that our Island and community benefits greatly from a culturally diverse population. We believe people should embrace their culture and show it off to the community. Having a diverse community influences people to do and try things they would have never dreamed of doing. Every culture in the world has different arts, foods, traditions, and ways of living, each of which should be taught and shared worldwide. We are organizing a Multicultural Festival to showcase the wonderful diverse island and world that we live in. It is a family and all-island event, open to anyone who wishes to learn and experience a variety of cultures through activities, stories, literature, art, music, and history. We want to help people realize out of many people we are one, and what it means to all of us to be apart of this diverse beautiful world.
For the last three months, MVYLI Visioneers have met weekly to develop this year's Summit: Isabelle El-Deiry, Sivana Brown with Mary Ollen and Isabel Smith. Last fall, Bella El-Deiry invited Brazilian youth leader and Tufts University graduate Ana Carvalho to speak at the Multicultural Assembly with re-known civil rights activities, Charlayne Hunter-Gault. For the Summit, MVYLI Visioneers reached out to Brazilian youth. Lucy Norris invited Lucas Amirans. Sivana nominated Marcelle Alves, a 9th grade honor student who aspires to become a lawyer. "When I came to MVYLI my first thought was the Brazilian youth on Martha's Vineyard should be involved in a great program like this too," says Marcelle who nominated Taynara Goncalves. "It really helps me have dreams and care for my future if I am supported by other people who believe in me and can help me accomplish my dreams for the world." In May they organized a luncheon to invite Brazilian youth to learn about MVYLI. "With the island being a meld of so many diverse cultures, it's so important to celebrate and open up to every single young person, " said Isabel Smith. "It was amazing to hear all of the inspiring dreams of the students," said Mary Ollen. "I look forward to hearing more about their aspirations and to helping their dreams become realities."
Institute's Sustainable Islands Technology Initiative
This year's Summit included youth delegates from the Island of Hawaii and Lana'i who are planning a Youth-Community Leadership Forum to share their Sustainability-In-Action Projects with their island's leaders and invite them to join them in realizing them. MVYLI youth will stay connected to the other island delegates through the Institute's Sustainable Islands Technology Initiative.
Thank you MVYLI for such an awesome experience. Meeting new people and building new relationships has been the highlight. I am thankful to be a part of such a great group! Charlotte McCarron
Max Conway was the youngest presenter at the Summit. A summer resident and senior at Georgetown Prep in Washington D.C., Max is developing a unique community service project to forge closer bonds between the people who share this beautiful Island. Max is connecting MVYLI youth with successful professionals who will mentor them to realize their dreams. At the Summit Max said he has 35 professionals ready and enthusiastic. Max envisions Island Connections as a summer - 6-week program, culminating with a lunch. "Youth will prepare for the lunch meeting as if it is an interview with a wise mentor, and use the feedback to further their quest for accomplishment," says Max. Last year Max family hosted the reception following MVYLI's 2012 Walter Cronkite Awards Ceremony.
Marsha Reeves-Jews, the Institute's Board President prepared youth delegates for this awesome opportunity with a Networking 101 Workshop - how to put our best foot forward, shaking hands, looking people in the eye, speaking up, sharing our dreams with those who could help to make them happen!
Island Connections with Max Conway: July 10-Summer, 2013
Walter Cronkite Awards Ceremony & Reception: August 8 - RSVP at mvyli.org/wca-rsvp
Wynton Marsalis Orchestra: August 17
MVYLI College Prep, Field Trip & Scholarship Program: September, 2013-March, 2014
MVYLI Job Shadow Day Program: January 31, 2014
The Youth Leadership Summit is the cornerstone of the Martha's Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative. MVYLI's year-round Fellowship Program provides mentoring with weekly workshops on College Prep & Field Program and Job Shadow Day; and leadership opportunities such as the Governor's Statewide Youth Council, Bioneers-By-the Bay Conference, internships with MVTV and Island organizations; and senior projects and Sustainability-In-Action Projects like the Multicultural Assembly. MVYLI is a program of the Stone Soup Leadership Institute, a 501�3 organization founded in 1997 on Martha's Vineyard.
MVYLI Summit Team: Josue Cruz, Nicole Garrity, Emily Nuss, Marsha Reeves Jews, Alex Frost
and Marianne Larned.
Summit Videographer Team: Meagan McDonough and Shavanae Anderson.
Photographers: Willoe Maynard, Sherry Pancho, and Marianne Larned.
Special helpers: Erin and Kara Dougherty-Merry.
MV Youth Leadership Initiative Explores Sustainability, Tony Omer, MV Times, July 3
Many Thanks to Our Sponsors
Major In-Kind Sponsors
Budget Martha's Vineyard
Vineyard Harbor Hotel
Trustees of the Reservation
In-Kind Sponsors 7A
Among the Flowers Biscuit's
Bite on the Go
Cash & Carry
DeBettencourt's Service Station
Menemsha Fish Market Morning Glory Farm
Skinny's Fat Sandwiches
Smoke & Bones
Stop & Shop
Orange Peel Bakery Pandora's Box
The Big Dipper
Third World Trading
Tisbury Farm Market
Tisbury Farm Market
Vineyard Bottled Water
Martha's Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative
Stone Soup Leadership Institute