As I sat in the Harvard SOCH waiting for our students to arrive, I was filled with a nervous anticipation. I had never led a YLC conference before, and I did not know what to expect. Students began trickling in, and almost immediately assuaged my worries. They were bright, eager to learn, and motivated: the perfect students.
Teaching root cause analysis for the first time was the highlight of the conference for me. Watching students dissect complicated issues like poverty and racism and dig deeper to try to address the real causes of these problems was quite eye opening. Students really gained a new understanding of the problems in their community through this analysis.
This conference taught me how to take a more hands-off approach to leadership. The structure of YLC is such that each teacher is only in charge of a small portion of the day. As a Co-Director of the conference, it was difficult for me to step back and let my fellow director do most of the directing since he had far more experience than I did. I constantly felt the need to step up and assert myself as a competent director too, but I fought that urge because our first priority was having a good conference.
This conference was smaller than past YLC Boston conferences. Most days we had about 25 students in attendance. It gave the conference a much more personal feel, and allowed a lot of mentoring in the breakout groups, which was very good and translated over to even better presentations and projects. I cannot wait to see all the good that these young men and women do in the world!
-Sean Wheelock, YLC Boston Co-Director