The 6th annual Youth Advisory Council overnight retreat at Camp Palmer, held in late February, was a great success! Thirty-six YAC members took part in a variety of interesting youth-led activities, and work sessions utilizing the retreat theme of “A Leader is One Who Knows the Way, Goes the Way and Shows the Way,”
HC3 staff organized two large group events to engage youth about community issues during the retreat. A “Hunger Banquet,” randomly divided participants into three classes based on world food distribution and poverty. Participants reacted differently to inequalities in food quality and quantity; some complained, some expressed guilt at the amount of food they received compared to others, and some expressed gratitude for what they had received. Once students realized that food could be shared, members of the high-income table filled their plates repeatedly, and worked to distribute food until everyone had enough to eat.
Angie Franklin, the Director of Community Services at NOCAC shattered the myth that homelessness does not exist in Fulton County. “Our homelessness and poverty issues might take on a different appearance than larger cities, but they do still exist in Fulton County”. Many organizations such as the PATH Center, a homeless shelter in Defiance, run near full capacity all year round, and work hard to support homeless and struggling individuals and to help them stabilize their lives.
In closing, Angie spoke about some local stories such as a former client who now volunteer regularly at the PATH Center to help others in need. She challenged YAC members to “take the things you are learning here and, as you grow up and start a family, don’t forget about them. Remember to take advantage of opportunities to change policy and to donate when you can.”
The second large group event arranged by HC3 staff was BAFA BAFA, a cultural simulation that provides a small-scale experience of cultural diversity and the impact it can have on communication and interaction.
This exercise allowed participants to gain a better understanding of cultural differences and the potential for misinterpretation and cultural bias, paired with suggestions on how to work through these differences when they occur.
Finally, after 26 hours of fun and learning (and maybe a little sleep), the tired teenagers headed home. Getting back to their normal lives, but taking a little more knowledge and experience with them!
HC3 and YAC would like to thank the following community partners for helping to make this event a success: Delta’s Open Door, Jill Stechschulte, Fulton County Extension Office , Sharon Morr, Director of Health Promotion at the Fulton County Health Center and Carmen Coy, Coordinator of Head Start at NOCAC. Community partnerships, along with these outstanding volunteers, worked together to help us create unique and well-coordinated activities. We could not have provided such amazing events without your help and support!
To learn more about our organization please check out our website, HC3Partnership.org, follow us on social media or contact us directly at HC3Partnership@gmail.com