The Stone Soup Leadership Institute's Summit w as held from June 23-29, 2018 . The Summit is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that empowers multicultural youth to become leaders. Youth delegates from Rhode Island and Massachusetts: Holyoke and Martha’s Vineyard and had rich leadership experiences.
Sustainable Oceans Day

To begin our first day, Clean Ocean Access welcomed us for a Beach Clean Up at Fort Adams State Park in Newport. We combed the shore for trash, recording each item collected. Lots of rope, tape, and plastic bits— even a pair of shoes with a water bug inside!  We bagged an estimated 40 pounds of trash! It was great to be out there cleaning up the beach and helping others ," says Holyoke youth leader Jan Carlos Rivera. " It’s important to the world .”

The Sail Newport team then prepared us for a life-changing adventure. A drizzly and gray day, it was full of firsts and fun. We suited up in waterproof gear, and piled onto small sailboats (J/22s & Rhodes 19s), each manned by volunteer sailors. For two hours we explored the beautiful Narragansett Bay, schooling ourselves in sailing lingo. “Sailing experience was fun,” said Rhode Island youth Lya Perez . “It was a little struggle, but it was a new experience. Everyone was wet and cold, but we were alive!” 
Leadership In Today's
Multicultural World

Our Culturally Diverse Summit Team featured emerging leaders from Hawaii, Brazil, Martha's Vineyard, Vieques, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, and even Bhutan. Flags representing all delegates and faculty from past Summits reminded us of our shared planet. Each morning we chose a leadership card, translated to the language/culture of the day. Words like creativity, kindness, power, integrity, respect encouraged reflection and guided our actions. 
Sustainability Day: Best Practices

Sustainable Hawaii
To begin our day, Hawaii's Emerging Leader Trevor Tanaka shared an Oli (Hawaiian chant) honoring his people and his island. Trevor championed the Sustainable Hawaii , a 1-stop educational resource that gives youth, educators, business and community learning tools: curriculum, best practices, videos, ways to preserve their islands.
Trevor demonstrated leadership, commitment and focus in spearheading this project. You are an inspiration to everyone in our community, encouraging us to go green and care for our environment. - Hawaii Governor Ige 

Sustainable Rhode Island
Rhode Island’s sustainable best practices were presented by Brittany Fulgione, recent RWU grad. The state is national leader in sustainability, championed by U.S. Senator Whitehouse's initiatives like environmental preservation. 

​Sustainability Surveys = Action Planning
Inspired by these presentations, youth reflected on their sustainability goals and projects for their communities. They voted for critical issues facing their communities with a Sustainability Survey modeled after the United Nations Sustainable Goals (UNSD). 
Giving Voice to Your Dreams:
A Life of Passion and Purpose

Finding a genuine connection to your voice is essential said Summit Co-Director Kutasha Silva in her presentation. Who are you?” What culture is your blood connected to?”   Each morning youth were invited to take quiet time to reflect and write.  

Kutasha shared inspiring videos of youth activism, from Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline to the Parkland #Neveragain Movement about school shootings.  “You can each do your part,” Marianne said.

What is your dream for your life, your community, the world?”  Each morning youth were invited to take quiet time to reflect and write.  
College Prep: Planning & Tour

Exploring Career Pathways
Emerging Leader Taynara Goncalves led the College Prep Workshop. we worked in small groups to explore what it takes to pursue our dreams and plan our futures.   

Professional Development Workshops
Emerging Leaders worked in small groups with youth to explore their career pathways - and write their first bios. We discovered the room was full of future authors, environmental engineers, pediatricians, archaeologists, social workers, chefs, film producers.  Everyone wants to make the world a better place!    I want to be satisfied with what I do and my choices," wrote Eltonya Higgins.   "I want the community to have less people struggling and the world to have people come together .”

TouchStone Leaders Online Learning Tools
The Institute's TouchStone Leaders Online Learning Tools. Each youth worked with our Summit Tech Team, to create their Dream Map™, The Institute's online tool that helps youth visualize, track and achieve their individual goals. 
Sustainable Global Leadership

Sustainable Bhutan
Nestled between China and India, Bhutan is the only carbon neutral country in the world. It plans to be 100% renewable energy by 2020. Namgyal Tsheden Gyaltshen described Bhutan's Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index . Namgyal aspires to help her country increase economic development of girls and women while protecting and preserving their environment.

Sustainable Puerto Rico
The Institute's first Summits in Vieques, Puerto Rico explored the beauty and healing powers (face masks) of the famous Bioluminescent Bay. Kutasha led kayak trips with Vieques youth to discover the importance of mangroves, the world’s most endangered ecosystem. In 2017, Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico’s mangroves. In order to protect her fragile island, Kutasha wants to preserve the mangroves and asked for volunteers to help. Eleven hands raised high!

Holyoke youth Sky Gonzalez, Jan Carlos Rivera and Alexis Diaz organized a warm clothing drive for Puerto Ricans fleeing to Holyoke after Hurricane Maria. Lya Perez and Highlander Charter School students helped. Jan Carlos produced a video, and won the Unsung Hero Award.

Sustainable Careers = Green Jobs 
21st Century Careers to Build a Better World
Max Kraimer is a Roger Williams University grad with a dual degree in Marine Biology and Sustainability. Max shared his past oyster farming work and his current work teaching people how to reduce plastic pollution as a Clean Ocean Access intern.  Youth make up 20 % of the world but 100 % of the future. Search for green jobs ,” Max said. Change a friend’s opinion about using plastic .”

Sustainability Research
Youth worked researched resources for their top 3 sustainability goals. Rhode Island: renewable energy, global sustainability and land-use planning. Holyoke: affordable housing, education and homeless/food services.  Johanna Muise won the prize for best researcher. I enjoyed it. I found lots of organizations for homeless services !"

"We are on fire!" exclaimed Sky Gonzalez as she and the Holyoke youth scribbled project ideas, filling three flip chart sheets. The Rhode Island team generated grand plans, and immediately started scheduling meetings with key stakeholders.
Five-Year Plan

For Josue Cruz , the 5-Year Plan is the most important part of the Summit.  Plans will always change ,” he said, It is perfectly normal to explore different paths ."  In 2004 Josue was a youth delegate at the Institute's first Summit in Vieques, Puerto Rico. He achieved his goal of becoming a lawyer. " Whenever you feel life is unfulfilling, it’s time to rethink your dreams and goals .”  Still, Josue said making a plan is essential. Never lose your focus .” 

A Roundtable of from emerging leaders and faculty members shared their five-year plans: from future pediatricians, computer engineers, environmental leaders, educators and Ph.D. students. In a way you are all engineers engineering your future ,” computer engineer Chris Aring said. 
Life-Long Friendships

The Summit’s final day was a day of sharing: their dreams for their lives, their communities and the world. Youth delegates shared their Dream Maps, their Sustainability-In-Action Projects and their 5-year plans.

Sustainability-In-Action Projects were unveiled. Holyoke’s included citywide cleanups, compost collections, recycling and compost bins, education, and creating gardens, parks and wildlife reserves.

The Rhode Island team wants to grow hydro-ponic vegetables and bring food to homeless shelters. Each team made a timeline and plans to present the results of their project at the next Summit.
Our Summit Tech Team leader Chris Brown unveiled the brand new website created with youth during the Summit: . Youth research teams provided more than 100 sustainability sites and resources for the site, which will provide worldwide sustainable activism opportunities.

For Summit Graduation, Kutasha performed Bach on her cello as youth delegates filed in, each holding a lit candle. We relived the week watching a slide show by Jan Carlos.  Each youth delegate received citations . Massachusetts youth: U.S. Senator Warren and Governor Baker. Rhode Island youth: U.S. Senator Whitehouse and Representative Cicilline.

SUCCESS: Our Performance Metrics
The Stone Soup Leadership Institute's Performance Metrics measures 21st Century leadership skills: Communication, Teamwork, Conflict Resolution, Problem Solving, Adaptability, Critical Thinking, Project Management Skills, Goals, Motivation and Wellbeing, and Education. This year we incorporated Bhutan's GNH Index. Youth delegates fill out the form before and after the Summit. We assess what they learned and determine their growth during the week. The 2018 Summit Results:
  • Scores increased by 86.5 points.
  • The average increase was 7.21.
  • The most dramatic increases: Communication (21 pts), Teamwork (18) and Goals, Motivations and Wellbeing (18). 
Stone Soup Leadership Institute