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The Youth Advisory Board at Young Americans is a very unique and special program, and I am extremely fortunate to serve as one of its Co-Chairs this year. As Board Members, we learn about nonprofit organizations, banking, entrepreneurship and participate in leadership training. We also provide Young Americans with the youth perspective on different topics.
A unique role
As a Co-Chair, my role is a little different. The Co-Chairs have already completed the Youth Board program as members of the Board, and now have the opportunity to lead and mentor the Board. I began my role as Co-Chair by participating in interviews of new Board members last summer. What an amazing group of candidates! Once the Board members are selected, Amina and I help to facilitate and direct these meetings. In all honesty, this seemed daunting at first. I am the same age as some of the members, and I was not sure how they would respond to a peer being in charge. However, this was never an issue.
The board role
We do many activities as a board and have bonded greatly over them. We went to Channel 7 News together, volunteered at the Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace, enjoyed Pumpkin Carving and Holiday Parties, and we all see each other once a month at meetings, where we learn from business leaders, and also, from each other.
As Co-Chairs, we represent Young Americans at various community functions. One of the most exciting events was the Celebration for Young Entrepreneurs held at the Denver Center for Performing Arts last fall, where we had the opportunity to share our experiences with the young entrepreneurs, sponsors, donors and others. Although speaking to group of almost 600 community and business leaders was somewhat intimidating, it was an amazing experience!
In addition, one of my initiatives as Co-Chair has been to increase the involvement of the Young Americans Youth and Adult Board members. Each Youth Board member has been paired with an adult member. We have learned so much from these leaders in our community.
A standout experience
Ultimately, what makes this Board team and this experience so special to me is the people who are on the Board. All of the Board members are outstanding individuals and even better team players. Our Board is built on mutual respect, friendship, a positive outlook and encouragement. While on paper, we, as Co-Chairs, are leading the meetings and helping to teach the Board members, that is most certainly not all that happens. I have learned so much from each and every one of them in the past couple months. I am looking forward to a great 2014 with the Board!