A group of students from Susan B. English School in Seldovia is among 15 teams selected to participate in the Alaska Youth Empowerment Summit this week at Camp Carlquist near Chugiak.
Adult advisers Trinket Gallien and Alene Hidecker and youths Jackie Brown, Kristy Gallien, Naomi Gallien and Jennifer Giles will join about 120 team members participating in the four-day event sponsored by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.
The aim of the summit, which started Monday and continues through Thursday, is to help youth ages 13 to 17 who have completed at least grade seven to develop a team or community plan of activities to improve the lives of young people in their villages or neighborhoods. Students at the summit will identify their own strengths and their community's strengths and learn how to connect the two to improve their lives. Conference organizers will monitor and advise the teams for one year after they return home to help in the implementation of the plans developed at the conference.
Governor Frank Murkowski and Education Commissioner Roger Sampson will participate in the summit.
"These young people are Alaska's next generation of leaders," Murkowski said in a press release. "They are smart and inventive. We should be looking to them for ideas on how to improve our education system, how to solve some of our social problems and how to make Alaska a better place for the next generation. I look forward to hearing their ideas. I am committed to building an Alaska that will provide them with jobs and opportunity, and I need their help."
Sampson said the summit will help teens accomplish high goals and expectations needed to improve the lives of all Alaskans.
"I have great expectations for Alaska's teens," the commissioner said. "I expect them to succeed in school, be of strong character and avoid the risks that will interfere with their full development. To realize the expectations we must turn to our youths and work alongside them to create healthier schools, neighborhoods and communities."
Teams formally applied to participate in the summit, which will include a full range of activities, including group and team seminars, cooperation among creative young people from throughout the state and meetings with education, business and community leaders.
Other teams selected to participate hail from Akiak, Aniak, Craig, Deering, Hoonah, Juneau, Kalskag, Kiana, Mt. Village, Nuiqsut, St. Paul, Tuluksak, Unalaska and Valdez.
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