Planning the YOCS Summit!
Looking back, I would have never thought that my interests in climate change, combined with my passion for the ocean and its many organisms, would lead to planning and executing an entire summit dedicated to just that! The focus of the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit’s (YOCS) that occur all over America is to obtain a group of advocates that can collectively form service projects that benefit the planet. Sean Russel created the platform for these summits and ever since he had his first ever YOCS in Florida, so many have occurred within our country. This year in Seattle, we launched the first ever YOCS to be planned by two different Zoo’s/ Aquarium’s!
Four youth, including myself, from the Seattle Aquarium, partnered with Point Defiance Senior Guide program to put together an extremely successful summit. After months of planning, the YOCS hosted just over forty-five youth and a group of empowering speakers on April 16th, 2016. The general schedule, as suggested by Sean Russel himself, is essentially a series of breakout sessions, time for attendees to plan their service projects, youth speakers, and a keynote speaker. Two speakers from Seattle Youth CAN were able to challenge youth to think about the many different ways their communities are affected by climate change. Yoyo and Vishal summarized the Seattle Youth CAN Transportation Challange and the astonishing results that came from it. For our keynote speaker, Andrew Bleiman of Zooborns delivered an amazing speech that left the room feeling empowered and ready to begin their journey as advocates within their communities. The day was a success and the hours of work that went into making it happen were well worth it!