Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Last weekend more than 70 students gathered for the American Red Cross of Central Texas Youth Leadership Development Retreat.  This two-day leadership conference focused on social development, community involvement, team building, and many other topics designed to produce strong youth leaders in the greater Austin area.  Featuring keynote speaker Senator John Cornyn, the students learned through seminars and workshops from local business executives, nonprofit leaders, and citizens who have devoted their lives to public service.  Thanks to a generous military grant, participants of the conference from military families attended free of charge.

Conference Participants with Senator John Cornyn

On Saturday the students welcomed the Senator, Councilwoman Laura Morrison, Red Cross executive Marty McKellips and Divisional Vice President Derrick Chubbs, Taryn Davis of the American Widow Project, Dr. Thea Hurts, Adrienne Longenecker and David Davenport of the Capital Area Food Bank, Dana Weis, motivational speaker Los Ellis, former nonprofit CEO Karen Langley, and Pamela Westover of St. Mary's University.  As a special treat on Saturday, Senator Cornyn presented a Certificate of Merit, the highest honor a lay responder can receive, to  Jenny Thomas, an area teen who helped save her friend's life using response skills she learned from the American Red Cross.

On Sunday the students welcomed James Young of Spredfast who presented positive ways to utilize social media, Diane Ventresca, Sinclair Fleetwood and Bob Bridge from the American Red Cross and Caroline Boudreaux of the Miracle Foundation.  Following a lunch generously donated by Chuy's, the participants learned from Mary Gordon Spence, Dawn Perkins of Front Steps, and Rachel Muir of GirlSTART.  Serving as a great end to the conference, Judy Maggio of keye-tv spoke of her career in broadcasting.

Many of the students in attendance at the conference have already achieved success within their communities.  Local girl scouts at the conference assembled more than 800 emergency kits so their neighborhoods would be prepared in a disaster.  "I enjoyed a lot of the speakers and was able to learn how to use social media," said conference attendee Matthew Evans, who has already started his own environmental nonprofit organization.  Officers from area Red Cross clubs were also at the conference, ready to learn new leadership skills to help support their clubs in the fall.

Want to learn more about next year's youth leadership conference or how to start your own American Red Cross Club?  Click HERE or contact Amber Cooney at acooney@centex.redcross.org

1 comment:

  1. It's great to see the American Red Cross pour these valuable resources into developing the leaders of tomorrow. Wish more can be done for young people, they just need people to say, you can do it, keep going, finish strong.