The team leader, Dr. Moore, started off the introductions for the purpose of the planning session and how we would proceed. First, we asked them to generate a list of what they wanted the Youth Summit to accomplish and what type of things they wanted to include. All adults left the room to leave them to their work, and when they finished, they would let us know. Each member of the adult team had a specific area: Dr. Simmons-personal identity development; Dr. Brooks-challenges youth face making healthy choices; Alderwoman Spann-civic engagement and local community concerns; Ms. Sims-teaching the history of Mound Bayou to others; and mine-economic development and youth entrepreneurship.
They generated their lists on each area, and shared them with us. Our next task is to take the areas, refine them to a specific focus to be covered during the youth summit, and finalize our agenda. At the end of the summit, the youth will select one or more projects to engage in over the coming year, and at the next summit in 2013, they will present the results of their work. The mentors will be working along side of them for the year as they need us or resources. At the next meeting, each youth present was challenged to bring one person with him or her so we can grow the group. Ultimately, we hope this project will spread to surrounding counties and we will produce a regional summit. This group of students and citizens are grounded in their history, culture, knowledge and experiences and it is a joy and celebration to have the privilege to work with them.