Teens invited to life readiness summit

Teens at ILEAD Youth Leadership Summit will attend workshops focusing on life readiness, mental health, and leadership development. The Summit is set for Saturday, Feb. 25. This year’s Salem location features the new Epping Homestead Branch of the Boys & Girls of Salem, Marion, and Polk Counties. The free, one-day event is open to any high school-aged teen living in the Mid-Willamette Valley. 

“We are excited to welcome MAPS Credit Union, Willamette University, and Salem Playhouse, among the organizations presenting workshops this year,” said Summit Director Laurie Shaw Casarez. “All of our speakers hope to encourage and inspire youth to step outside their comfort zones and invest in their lives now in order to build a thriving future.”

Kiele Jarnagin, a senior at McNary High School, is in her second year of serving on the summit’s Youth Committee. She’s excited to meet teens in-person from around the Mid-Willamette Valley after offering a virtual summit in 2021. 

“The connections people make at events like this last for so long,” she said. 

Fellow committee member and Abiqua Academy 12th grader, Spenser Lamphear, agrees. “I’ve attended ILEAD in the past. The opportunity to weigh in on ideas that shape what the summit offers is one reason I’m looking forward to the event. This program can impact a teen’s decision to pursue higher education, become community leaders, and understand how to maintain good health.”

The five-person youth committee selected workshop content they felt would help teens grow.  Topics address:

• navigating the feeling of being overwhelmed,

• finding motivation and managing stress,

• discovering different leadership styles and using your voice,

• developing public speaking skills,

• writing strong college and scholarship essays, and

• learning the basics of personal finances.

ILEAD is available to teens in Marion, Polk, and Linn counties this year. 

“ILEAD is a great opportunity for teens to get some leadership training and develop important life skills,” said Youth Committee member Kaiden Armstead, a 10th grader at McKay High School. Armstead is presenting during a Volunteer Opportunities workshop where attendees will meet representatives from a variety of organizations offering service and leadership opportunities for interested teens. “Plus, there’s free tacos [for lunch]! There’s nothing to lose.”

Registration closes Friday, February 24. The registration link is found on the ILEAD Youth Summit webpage and includes workshop descriptions. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and includes games, raffle prizes, a DJ, and an event T-shirt for all teen participants.

Transportation is provided to and from ILEAD on Salem Keizer School District buses for various schools in Marion County.The ILEAD registration form will provide space to indicate interest in riding a bus. A follow-up email with the bus form link will be sent to those who express an interest.

Coordinated by the City of Salem Youth Development Services, ILEAD is produced each year by a youth and planning committee of stakeholders. Marion County Health and Human Services, Salem Health: Hospitals and Clinics, Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties, and City of Salem are the February main sponsors.