Walking up to Vail Mountain School for the first time, I was certain that nothing could amaze me more than the beauty of the school and the surrounding mountains. Our students in this conference proved me so very wrong. Throughout the conference I was amazed by their maturity, passion, and intelligence. The group of students was mostly younger, 8th and 9th graders, but they maturely tackled difficult issues like poverty in Africa, loneliness in hospitals, and bullying.
I was incredibly honored to direct this conference with incredible teachers: Kara, Emily, and Jonathan. Kara and Emily helped found YLC, and both the students and I learned so much from their experience. This was Jonathan's first conference, and I could not believe what a great teacher he was. He is wise beyond his years, and the students recognized that.
In order to try to push continued project development after the conference, we decided to try something new this conference. Rather than focusing students on a final presentation about their social change issue, we encouraged students to start working on their projects during the conference and make their presentations about the work they had done during the week. The students dove right in, and the most common delta we got at the end of the day was "We want to work on our projects more!" One of our groups has published their project (called Loose Snow) about warning people when avalanche danger is high. You can check it out here: www.loosesnow.com.
The conference was a great success, and I can't wait to see our students continue to change the world!
-Sean Wheelock, YLC Vail Director