Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to attend the Florida Youth Power Summit; representing the Palm Beach Youth Leadership Council. It was my first real experience as a member of the Planned Parenthood Generation Action family. Being new, the YPS was a time for me to learn about organized activism and advocacy as well as learn how I could impact change within my local community. It was a chance to get to know advocates from across the state on a more personal level; it was an amazing experience to be able to meet other like-minded people in other groups across Florida that has certainly impacted the way I, as a young person, view the world of advocacy and organizing.
The three day conference was reminiscent of a college orientation: we listened to and watched presentations from Planned Parenthood Gen Action experts about how we as young activists could be the effectively advocate within our communities. We were also given the opportunity to have break-out sessions with our local chapters to work out our personal goals, this enabled us to put into practice what we were able to learn over the course of the two days.
My chapter has plans to work closely with the school board of Palm Beach County to bring comprehensive sex education into the public school system. Through learning SMART goal strategies and doing team building exercises, our group came together stronger than before and we were able to work out the details of our aspiration. In the end, through the lectures as well as the social hangouts at the end of each day, we bonded as a unit by branching out and making friends in other groups across the state. We were inspired by hearing about each other’s perspectives, and combining our personal experiences has rallied our confidence in our movement.
We finished off the weekend with an empowering march and some moving speeches from our leaders. The Youth Power Summit was a valuable first experience with Planned Parenthood Generation Action. I am excited to participate in this campaign towards sexual and reproductive healthcare and equality. The youth meeting and organizing in activism will allow us to raise awareness and advocate for our future.