LH teens return from Atlanta ready to become leaders
By Sarah Negrete
Nine Boys and Girls Club members were part of the 2,000 teens from across the United States who came together last week in Atlanta to network, discuss community involvement and participate in workshops at the annual Boys and Girls Club Keystone Teen Leadership Conference.
The cross-country journey marked the first time some of the teens ever left California. The trip was made possible through the fundraising efforts put on by the Keystone members throughout the past year, as well as a small program grant awarded to the Boys and Girls Club.
Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of La Habra Mark Chavez feels enthusiastic about the opportunities the conference gives teens each year.
“It gives me great pride in our club because of our ability to give to underprivileged and very deserving children good opportunities in life such as this,” he said. “For some, it was their first time out of state, for others, their first time on a plane altogether. Either way, this trip gave these kids an experience made possible by the hundreds of hours of work, many bake sales, can drives and other fundraising ideas in order to send the nine Keystone members out to Atlanta, Georgia.”
Two of the Keystone members who went to the conference were the Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year winners, Katie Nunez and Elijah Wilson.
Nunez, 16, felt that this year’s trip positively impacted her life as well as others’ lives.
“I really enjoyed meeting so many different people. We all could relate to each other,” said Nunez, who is the Keystone Club vice president. “It was a great, rewarding experience, and I learned so many things. I definitely feel as if I can make a difference in anything I do, and it motivated me to become more involved in so many other things in life.”
Wilson, Keystone Club president, also attended last year’s conference in Texas. But the 17 year old admitted he enjoyed this year’s Atlanta conference a great deal more.
“This year, I really put myself out there more and pushed myself to meet others,” Wilson said. “By doing that, I met so many others with close common interests…from all over the country. We even keep in contact. But overall, it was a great experience for me to learn about different cultures and people from different places who share the same goals and aspirations as I do. I really recommend this trip to future members of the club.”
The Boys and Girls Club of La Habra has already begun the fundraising for next year’s Keystone Teen Leadership Conference. Since the conference will be held in Anaheim in March, more club members will be able to attend. The next fundraising event the Keystone members plan to run will be a snow cone sale at the La Habra Lions Corn Festival in August.
To find more information about the Boys and Girls Club of La Habra and how to become more involved, visit ourchildrensfuture.org.