Emily Rusca from the Grants Department at Ayusa headquarters describes the recent YES Leadership Summit that took place in San Francisco:
One of the best components of the weekend was our partnership with Abraham’s Vision, who provided host families for the students for Friday and Saturday nights and also did some of their “group process” programming with the students on Sunday.
Friday involved a lot of running around, gathering the eight students at the airport before bringing them up to San Francisco for some touristy fun. We saw the Golden Gate Bridge and some old military base buildings, as well as explored a little bit of the Marina District (site of some extensive damage in the 1989 earthquake) before parting ways for the evening.
One of the best components of the weekend was our partnership with Abraham’s Vision, who provided host familiess for the students for Friday and Saturday nights and also did some of their “group process” programming with the students on Sunday.
Saturday I was with the students all day for a series of workshops on a variety of topics such as leadership qualities, alternate styles of leadership, Myers-Briggs personality types, etc. We did some of our activities outside as we had a hot weekend here (lucky kids!) and we went to the Farmer’s Market, the site of the old Occupy SF camp, and the Gandhi statue. All three of those started some great conversations about different official and unofficial forms of leadership and community service that I found really insightful and fun. By the end of the day Saturday the kids were really comfortable with one another and we were getting into some deeper conversations, which was so neat to see.
Sunday we had an Abraham’s Vision workshop that centered on identity and what that means both here in the US and also returning home to their various home countries. It was a really intense day and the students really dug in and got deep with what they were reflecting on and sharing with the group. It was nothing short of humbling to hear what these incredible students had to say about their year here and its impact on them, as well as what they hope for in the future. It was abundantly clear that they have grown so much and are going to continue on to be stellar leaders!
Monday we had staggered departures throughout the morning and the afternoon. A big THANK YOU to all the staff who helped get the students back to their host families around the country—we had some delays but overall the process went smoothly. That wouldn’t have been possible without your help!
I 'll leave you with a funny quote from the weekend that came from Ridho Pratama (SW/Indonesia). In his “love letter” to himself, he wrote "because yes, life’s too short, bro." Indeed!