Youth Leadership Forum 2016 – Day 1, Peer Leader Training

DSC02916An introduction:

Hello, my name is Evan Gabovitch, and I am PYD’s MLK Summer Scholar for the 2016 season.

I am 21 years old and attend Curry College in Milton going in as a junior in the fall. I study Communication and Concentrate in Film, but to be more specific, I hope to become a writer for TV, theater and eventually for comic books.

During my entries throughout July into early August, I will be writing about my experiences at PYD as well as a few of the other programs they are involved in, such as hosting the 2016 Youth Leadership Forum at Bridgewater State University and their Access to Theater Program.


Beginning at 9:00am this morning was the first day for peer leaders to come in for orientation training. Because a lot happened all with in one day, I am going to limit my details to major activities or notable moments throughout the day, instead of on a moment by moment basis. So that you, the reader, can get a full sense of what it’s like at the Youth Leadership Forum without needing to know every single detail.

First, was the workshop introduced by PYD’s own, Kristin Humphrey. We created what are called “Zines”, which is a kind of artistic expression formed from cut up magazine clippings to create an image. I created my own, which was basically this big “X” across the page, one side of the X said “Communication” and the other side had two parts which were “Social” and a giant number “1” with a small word next to it that says “day” forming “1 day.” on the bottom of the X was a picture of Congressman Kennedy and the lead singer for the Dropkick Murphy’s to symbolize my roots from being from MA, and a small print coming from the X which says “Hear Me Roar.” The zine page I made is not complete as of yet, but once it is, I will be doing another entry explaining what it actually means.

Afterwards we had lunch which transitioned us to a presentation by “You’re With Us!” Founder/President, Michael Plansky who talked to the peer leaders about how we can perceive our leadership abilities and what we can do to teach the delegates how we can carry over our experience on to them.

DSC02941Next, EPIC leader Jeff Lafata lead a workshop on ableism and how disability is defined. We first split into 4 groups and wrote down as many words we can think of that related to disability. They ranged on a whole host of various topics, from Autism to Cancer to Down Syndrome, to Cerebral Palsy and everything in between. We then proceeded to do a part of the work shop called “The Line” which was where everyone was dead silent, standing side by side in a straight line, and each person would either step forward and step back depending on if the statement applied to them. Without classifying what any examples of these questions are, they were very tough and sometimes of serious subject matter to say the least. Other statements were more positive and were more along the lines of what would be considered an advantage in ones life, rather than a disadvantage or a negative. Jeff then told everyone to look around, and everyone was scattered across different parts of the field. This was my second time doing this activity, last year being a peer leader being my first, and even though I knew we would all be scattered, seeing where each different person was, was still shocking and a little sad. I shared with the group this thought that we all have very different stories underneath the surface, and you don’t really know what they’re going through until you really get to know that person, or at least make the effort to.

Finally, Deep Chinappa lead a music workshop which involved the entire group to create a song that all of the delegates, peer leaders, staff captains, PCA’s, etc., would sing along to. It was an amazing session filled with improv and music, and definitely some note worthy funny moments as well.

That wraps it up for Day 1, I would rate today a success despite just a *few* scheduling delay issues. So until the next entry, this is Evan Gabovitch signing out.

Comment (1)

  1. Megan Sukkivan
    Megan Sukkivan
    8 years ago

    Evan, well done: well written and interesting! Also since I know some PYD folks, I was especially glad to read this. Keep writing!

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