Highlights from the 2014 USA Games Youth Summit by Krysten Kirsch

June 23, 2014

Great progress was made this week at the USA Games Youth Summit as students learned, got creative, collaborated, and set goals! The week culminated with the students reflecting on their past successes and making a plan for the future. Each state made a poster to share at the Youth Expo. this morning with CEOs, other states, and special guests. We liked the saying we heard from Oscar H. earlier in the week, "Sacrifice for Success," and plan to keep that in mind this coming year. A few highlights on our poster include: 

Past Successes: 
Youth Leadership – a State Youth Activation Committee of 10 members meeting five times a year, plus monthly google+ hangouts; hosting a statewide Youth Activation Summit; hosting Ultimate Fans at state competitions for Fans in the Stands; 31 schools with Project UNIFY® clubs

Inclusive Sports – unified recreation in the schools (snowshoe, ice hockey, dance, table tennis, volleyball, bowling, relays, bocce, basketball skills); regional unified recreation (triathlon, relays, bowling); Young Athletes™

Schoolwide Engagement- R-word campaigns; sport and game carnivals; Get Into It; Polar Plunge®

Future Goals
Youth Leadership – invitation to students to attend Fall Leadership Forums; Youth Activation Committee members serve as youth liaison with two Project UNIFY Schools to maintain and build; Project UNIFY Clubs have a Public Relations position to communicate successes to Youth Activation Committee members

Inclusive Sports – Regional/state level recreation model (bowling, tennis, sailing);  Regional/state level competitive model (bowling, snow shoe, tri-athlon, relays); national (flag football)

Schoolwide Engagement – each school hosting two schoolwide events (Respect Week, Unified Sports Day, Polar Plunge, etc.); unified sports kits to check out from state office for one day awareness events; Youth Activation Committee members help expand rallies by assisting new schools

And we leave you with our final thoughts as this amazing experience comes to an end, but is just the beginning of our continued work towards inclusion: 

"The best part has been meeting new friends from other states and gathering new ideas." – Courtney

"I like being a leader by talking about Project UNIFY." – Marta

"It has been amazing to see not just Courtney and Marta come together as a team, but all the students from across the nation. Our next generation is off to a strong start of inclusion for all and ready to CHANGE THE GAME!" -Krysten 

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