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July 2013

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Youth for America 2008 a Success!

Over 275 youth gathered in Cedar City and Monticello, Utah during June for the seventh annual Youth of America conference.

By Hayley Paul, Assistant to the Director of YFA
Last month George Wythe College sponsored its seventh annual Youth for America conference, its largest ever. Over 275 youth and their parents from the United States and Canada converged on Cedar City and Monticello, Utah to participate in seven sessions staffed by over 30 George Wythe College students, staff and community members.  Thousands of hours of planning, preparation and training over the past six months made this event possible. 
Following are some of the written comments shared by this year’s attendees:
“I will rise to the call of greatness.” (Aubrey, 15 - Bountiful, UT)
"[I will change] the way I treat my family.” (Hayden, 12 - TX)
“While I am alive, I can and need to do something to help others. When I don't have anything to do, instead of standing around and saying, 'I'm bored,' I will do something valuable with my life mission." (Ben M., 14 - CA)
“[The simulation] really strengthened me. I learned that love and sacrifice isn’t always what it seems to be… I learned about how important it is to ‘see’ people, and it helped me make friends that will be lifelong treasures.” (Sariah, 14 - Monticello, UT)
“All of [YFA] was so amazing, but I think that my favorite things were the inspiring lectures we had…I am going to study so much more.” (McKenna, 14 - Beaver Creek, OR)
“I know I can just be better and set my goals higher…You can do anything. Give 100%. Saygobedo!!” (Amy, 17 - Orem, UT)
“The most valuable thing I learned is that no matter what our circumstance or who we are, we can be whatever we want…[There was] a lecture about who we are and that we should be great…[I was convinced] completely that there in no way in the world that I can’t be the next Thomas Jefferson or Gandhi…I can be anything I want as long as I’m willing to work and sacrifice.” (Barrett, 16 - Burley, ID)
“I learned how to love and that I have a dream I need to fulfill. I learned so much that I’ll be changed forever.” (Kaylee, 15 - El Cajon, CA)
“Doing the simulations made me realize a weakness I have, but now I know how to conquer it.” (Kei, 15 - San Diego, CA)
One mother whose children attended YFA the past two years wrote us to describe the impact this program has had on her family:
"I wanted to let you know how deep an impact YFA made [on] my two children. They both raved about it for weeks after [the conference.] I asked a question or two and they were off. We probably talked about 45 minutes or so just on the ride home. Then little things kept coming out about what they had discovered or learned. YFA has always been a great experience, but it is getting more and more powerful each year.
“The day after we got home, [my 15-year-old son] found The Odyssey and asked if he could read it. I said "Sure," trying not to be too excited or say anything to dissuade him! [My 13 year old son] asked to read the books [his brother] read during his YFA seminar. They have both continued studying this summer without any [push] from me...
“...Last night before bed, [my 13-year-old] said, "When you were getting into Thomas Jefferson Education, did you ever get so excited that all you wanted to do was study? I just don't have enough time or attention span or something." This lead into a great conversation about scholar skills and what was next in his education.
“If I had read this [above dialogue] in a home-schooling book, I would say something like, ‘This is a fake child or a very unusual one.’ But now I have seen the principles of a Thomas Jefferson Education at work in my home. It takes time, years sometimes, to accomplish this. It takes example, trial-and-error, completely blowing it and then cleaning up the mess sometimes, but the principles work! I knew this, but now I have experienced it...
“It's not just what GWC does and it's not just what [we parents] do; it's learning to use groups and communities to accomplish the goal - getting a superb education. I am so thrilled to be a part of such a community.” 
Many thanks to all who attended and helped make YFA 2008 our best conference yet!

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For information about YFA 2009, please visit

Rachel Ebert contributed to this article.