What: Arkansas Teen Conference Where: 4-H center in Little Rock, Arkansas When: August 13-15 Who: 100 youth and 50 staff All-Stars that Attended: Tobias Rogan and Natasha Santos FosterClub Level 2's that attended: Naomi Porter, Christopher Andrade, Daryl Conquering Bear FosterClub Staff that attended: Celeste Bodner
The Arkansas teen conference was the first conference the 2009 All-Stars attended that was completely planned by the youth. Youth advisory board members, YAB-bers, were instrumental in keeping the motivation and energy high. August 13th: The All-Stars arrived and went through the planned activities with the YAB-bers and helped to smooth out the agenda for the upcoming days. Tasha, Toby, the level 2 Naomi and Celeste participated in a run through of the workshops some of the YAB-bers were going to present the next day. The All-Stars also did a mock transitional panel to give the YAB-bers a sense of what it would be like since they would be doing it the next day. August 14th: YAB-bers and All-Stars facilitated check-in together. Youth began to arrive around 10 am. After everyone was checked in, settled and split into tribes the workshops began. There were four workshops and the youth rotated among them. Toby and Tasha presented Foster-to Famous and the YAB-bers presented the workshops that they had created. After the workshops were over there was an hour break when the youth could go swimming, play basketball or participate in any other activity that they wanted. The transition panel (led by YAB members), talent show and fashion show followed dinner and the youth were really involved and excited. Many went onstage and showed off their talents with entrants performing musical numbers, dance acts and art that they had created. ILP staff participated in the talent show by dressing up and performing for the youth. The YAB president and an All-Star also took the stage in the talent show as Madea; the African-American and Caucasian versions. The youth really enjoyed it. August 15th: The last day of the conference was bittersweet with the youth checking out of their rooms by 8am. There was a short breakfast and then a ropes course. The ropes course dealt with team building by doing activities that demanded the youth work together to accomplish a goal. The ropes course lasted about two hours and the youth seemed really pleased with themselves afterwards. After lunch the closing ceremonies were performed were youth and YAB members gained recognition for their involvement in the conference in on the youth advisory board. There were also prizes given away with a Nintendo Wii and a plane ride being among them. Youth left with sundaes from an ice cream social and with smiles on their faces. The conference was successful.