Youth Advisory Committee attends Summer Leadership Conference


Did you know that the Michigan Community Foundation Youth Project was the first in the nation and started 25 years ago? This program has now expanded to all states and also internationally.

The weekend of June 23-26th, The Otsego County Community Foundation sent four members of their Youth Advisory Committee along with two advisors to celebrate the 25 years of youth having a voice in their local foundations. The 2017 Youth Summer Leadership Conference theme was Momentum: Reflect. Capture. Grow.

Each day was packed full of team building, speakers, breakout sessions and simulation activities for the youth participants.

First time attendee Hannah Johnston noted “The MCFYP YAC conference has taught me to be a better leader and how to better serve the youth in my community. This was a valuable experience for my group and I.”  Elijah Yocum, who just became a member of the OCCF YAC  stated “I just joined YAC and I didn’t know much. I am confident and excited for my future time in the Otsego YAC”.

Twins Emily and James Brazelton have attend the leadership conference in the past and were excited to expand their knowledge. Emily stated “At the youth conference I learned a lot about different types of philanthropy and made many connections while enjoying myself” . “Philanthropy…  fun to say…cool to do. As a YAC member going on my 4th year, this quote keeps my fire burning and drives me to make a better world for less fortunate people”. said James.

One of the highlights was a panel of YAC alumni who told about the impact that YAC made on their lives and answered questions from the YAC members. Christian Birky, who is the founder of Lazlo, a sustainable menswear brand based in Detroit that hires returning citizens noted,”Youth, you have a voice that adults need to hear, make yourself heard”.

The advisors had intense programming as well. They had small group sessions to share and learn on subjects like recruitment, communication, volunteering, youth fund development, and granting. They also listened to speakers and had time to work with their YAC members on ideas to bring back to the whole committee to improve their YAC.  Barb Brown, who has attended this conference in the past, stated “It inspires me to see so many youth collectively sharing their passion for philanthropy and making a difference in the lives of others.”  For Karin Beyer this was her first conference and noted ” The youth that attended this conference come from all walks of life, have different viewpoints and have different size communities that they live in. It fills my heart that they all want to make other lives better….and will work together to be the leaders for today and the future”.

To celebrate the impact that the Youth Advisory Committee has had on its members  we will start to feature a YAC alumnus in the  Good News newsletter. If you are a YAC alumnus or know someone who served on this committee, please contact Karin Beyer at