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In a special treat for the young people attending the event, former Milwaukee Bucks star Vin Baker was the special guest at the first-ever Youth Leadership Summit May 20 at Junior Achievement of Wisconsin on Milwaukee’s northwest side. The event was hosted through a partnership of Pathways Milwaukee, Junior Achievement, Milwaukee Urban League Guild, and Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals.

Youth Leadership Summit 2017 was a one-day leadership training program that helped prepare young individuals to be the next generation of Wisconsin leaders. Although the name, Youth Leadership Summit, suggests an emphasis on leadership, the program consisted of overlapping and complementary components like leadership development, community involvement/civic engagement, resolving conflict through negotiation and financial literacy.

“This is the first Youth Leadership Summit that the Milwaukee Urban League has put on. The inspiration for this event came from [Milwaukee Urban League Guild President] LeVarn Clay and a meeting with Milton Cockcroft, executive director of Pathways Milwaukee,” Milwaukee Urban League Guild member Jerry Jordan tells Madison365. “The Summit turned out to be a really good partnership in what both Pathways and the Urban League do.”

Former Milwaukee Bucks star Vin Baker talks to young people about leadership at the Youth Leadership Summit.
Former Milwaukee Bucks star Vin Baker talks to young people about leadership at the Youth Leadership Summit.

Over 100 Milwaukee-area student attended the Youth Leadership Summit where they listened to guest speakers and facilitators conduct workshops in areas of their expertise and experience on various topics. The Youth Leadership Summit was hosted with the intention of planting seeds of leadership in the minds of the youth and providing a platform for students to connect and interact. The conference was for 7th, 8th, 9th and 12th-grade students from various schools in the Milwaukee area.

Jordan, the project director for the Youth Leadership Summit, is a member of the Milwaukee Urban League Guild, an auxiliary of the Milwaukee Urban League who work to design fundraising activities and develop volunteerism. Guild volunteers are all 40 and older and come from all walks of life providing service to the Urban League and the community it serves.

“The morning breakout sessions were dedicated to leadership and conflict resolution,” Jordan says. “We broke the students down to groups of about 30 and we had three speakers talking to them about leadership and being a leader in the community … and why that is so important. We are trying to plant seeds in the minds of the students on how they are probably already leaders and how they can increase their leadership as they get older.”

Former Milwaukee Bucks star Vin Baker chats with Milwaukee Urban League CEO Dr. Eve Hall at the Youth Leadership Summit.
Former Milwaukee Bucks star Vin Baker chats with Milwaukee Urban League CEO Dr. Eve Hall at the Youth Leadership Summit.

The highlight of the summit’s lunchtime program for the young people was getting a chance to hang out with former Milwaukee Bucks star Vincent Lamont “Vin” Baker. Baker was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 8th pick of the 1993 NBA draft and he played in four consecutive All-Star games.

“It was fantastic to see Vin Baker there interacting with the young people,” Jordan says. “I don’t get a chance to get next to those players very often but they are such an inspiration to the kids because he really talked about his relationship with his two children, whom I believe are high school age.”

There was a lunchtime raffle for Milwaukee Bucks jerseys and some young people walked away from the event with a keepsake souvenir.

Workshop leaders and facilitators at the Youth Leadership Summit
Workshop leaders and facilitators at the Youth Leadership Summit

In the afternoon, Tammy Belton Davis, principal consultant for Athena Communications led a Teen Town Hall on “Creating Your Brand with Social Media. Community involvement/Civic engagement sessions were led by Jordan Roman, Sean Lowe, and Lyah Holmes. Financial Literacy sessions were led by Jacqueline Ward, Ranell Washington, and Bob Wynn.

“I was very impressed with the level of attentiveness and engagement of the students,” Wynn, an economic development and education specialist in Madison, tells Madison365. “It was clear that these students understood why they were there and they were making the most of their opportunity to acquire education and life skills that would serve them well in the future.”

Workshop presenters (l-r) Anthony Kazee, Jacqueline Ward, and Bob Wynn.
Workshop presenters (l-r) Anthony Kazee, Jacqueline Ward, and Bob Wynn.

The goal of the summit was to nurture and grow an engaged community of young leaders by helping them to develop the leadership skills necessary for success in today’s world.

At the end of the event, Johnson Controls and the Milwaukee Urban League Guild were the sponsors as 30 laptop computers were awarded to 12th-grade students. Dr. Eve Hall, president and CEO of the Milwaukee Urban League, and Gil Cubia, global director of community involvement and engagement for Johnson Controls, presented the young people with brand-new laptops.

“The 12th-grade students really loved that,” Jordan says, “and it really inspired the younger students to see that.

“Overall, it was a great day and there was great energy,” Jordan adds. “We are happy with how well the event went.”

Written by David Dahmer

David Dahmer

A. David Dahmer is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Madison365.

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