SWCA Synod Youth at the 2016 ELCA Youth Leadership Summit

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The ELCA Youth Leadership Summit is an annual gathering for high school youth identified as leaders from each synod from across The ELCA. It focuses on leadership development through engaging speakers and thought leaders in key areas at the intersection of leadership and faith in daily life AND faith formation, as well as building connections for high school youth in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The 2016 Summit took place in November in North Carolina with over 140 youth leaders and adult representatives participating, among them youth leaders Cheyenne Boykin (right) and Shawntelle Augustine (left) from the SWCA Synod. 

For four days in November, I had the opportunity to attend the ELCA 2016 Youth Leadership Summit in Asheville, North Carolina with three other youth and two adult leaders. I thoroughly enjoyed this weekend as I explored a new camp with a new purpose and new friends who came from as far as Alaska to attend. We all came to strengthen our leadership skills as well as interpret some new ideas from each other to take back to our congregations and our youth teams. We also listened to some powerful speakers who touched on the subjects as deep as racism in our communities to world hunger and the insufficient water supply in other third world countries. My favorite part of the weekend was the Walk4Water experiment we did around the camp. I previously did the walk for water in Detroit 2015 with gallons of water I had to carry through a maze to experience how women and young girls in countries live. I thoroughly loved this experience and would recommend it for any Synod Youth Team Member.

Cheyenne Boykin, St. Mark’s Los Angeles
President of the Synod Youth Team

I had the opportunity to experience different perspectives of what God is calling us to do in the world. Meeting high school students from Alaska all the way to Maryland, I got to listen to stories similar and different than my own. I learned that in order to make a positive change in the world, I need to “Show Up”, “Listen”, and Engage. For example, when I see a teenager being racially profiled, I show up to advocate for them, listen to their story to show empathy, and engage in groups to defeat racial discrimination. I also learned that the ELCA has a lot to offer to make a difference in church and at home, such as ELCA Advocacy and ELCA World Hunger. In this summit overall, I did something I never thought I would so since I was a little girl: I got out of my comfort zone and created bonds with other people in this country and made stronger bonds in my synod that cannot be broken.

Thank you to the ELCA and to the Southwest California Synod for this awesome opportunity!

Shawntelle Augustine, St. Mark’s, Los Angeles
Multi-Cultural Representative of the Synod Youth Team

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