TEENPOWER Celebrates 25 Years of Fun and Learning

By Laura Ferguson

In 1992, Youth Resources’ first High School TEENPOWER leadership conference was hosted at the University of Evansville by a group of visionary high school students and adults. That group changed the trajectory of the youth leadership movement in the Tri-State area.

Starting June 5, 220 high school participants, 35 high school Youth Staff volunteers, 16 YR alumni and College Staff volunteers and 24 Adult Staff volunteers converged again at UE for the 25th High School TEENPOWER conference and had a blast together. Both the High School and Middle School TEENPOWER conferences are at capacity this year with waiting lists of hopeful attendees.

Twenty-five years of TEENPOWER is a big deal, and all of us at Youth Resources know that we stand on the shoulders of giants as we continue a legacy of youth empowerment that started before some of us were even born!

TEENPOWER brings together hundreds of students of diverse backgrounds, from different schools, with wildly varied life experience each summer. They convene with each other on issues they face as young people; train with peers, college students and adults to learn how to be stronger, more effective leaders; plan substance abuse awareness and prevention service projects to implement in their home communities; and learn positive skills for succeeding in high school and beyond.

What makes up YR’s TEENPOWER conferences? Large and small group teambuilding, workshops with expert presenters from our community, a national keynote (this year, Heather Schultz), prevention project planning with participants’ school advisors, small group debrief sessions and lots and lots of fun!

Since 1992, TEENPOWER has created a network of over 3,000 empowered leaders who start to change our community and world as youth and continue to catalyze positive change as adults.

TEENPOWER is not possible without the college and adult volunteers who give their vacation and time with their families to support our community’s young people. We would also be remiss if we didn’t thank the University of Evansville and the University of Southern Indiana for their continued partnership in hosting the conferences and allowing our participants to learn to navigate and feel comfortable on a college campus.

During the school year, the TEENPOWER program continues through the hard work of teachers at local middle school and high schools who help students lead TEENPOWER Clubs and implement the prevention service projects that they planned at the conferences. Those teachers, as we well know, give more than we can thank them for and make sure the lifestyle that young people learn at TEENPOWER is encouraged throughout the year.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@YouthResources) to see what 25 years of TEENPOWER looks like in 2016!

If you would like more information on how to get your student involved in Middle School or High School TEENPOWER at school or at YR’s powerful conferences in 2017, visit the TEENPOWER page of our website, or contact Jeremy Brown at jeremy@youth-resources.org or 812-421-0030 ext. 15.

Laura Ferguson is the Executive Director at Youth Resources.