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BC Youth Crew hosts, plans Youth Leaders in Kansas conference
Jake White 2024
Jake White, national drug-prevention speaker, uses his skills at the drums to liven up the audience at the recent YLinK conference at Hoisington High School.

MaKiah Webber, a 13-year-old Hoisington High School student, made a repeat appearance at this year’s YLinK conference. She is glad she did.

YLinK stands for Youth Leaders in Kansas, a statewide group that gathered recently at Hoisington High School for a full day of activities and educational sessions.

While Webber enjoyed many aspects of the conference, she said “Jake White was a great highlight at the event. Jake really brought energy, excitement and some valuable information, which I enjoyed very much. I thought the conference went well and was nicely done.”

Webber, a member of YLinK and Youth Crew, also noted the annual gathering is one way to learn how “to make a difference in my community and surroundings.

“I am glad I attended the event because I learned about a lot of new, important community engagement activities,” the ninth-grader said. “I also learned how to be a better leader overall, which I appreciate very much.”

Faith Sieliet, an 11-year-old Central Plains Elementary School student, also attended the conference after a friend encouraged her to participate.

“My friend and I had plans to hang out that same day, so she invited me to come,” Sieliet recalled. “She said it would be a lot of fun.”

Her friend was right, the sixth-grader noted. “It was so much fun and I got to meet lots of new people. The biggest highlight for me was all the presentations and learning lots of information on why it is beneficial to stay substance free.”

The experience also has encouraged Sieliet to become a Youth Crew member.

Ellie Foos, a Hutchinson High School senior, said the YLinK conference was worth the trip to Hoisington because “I was able to make new connections with youth from all across Kansas.”

Foos, a 17-year-old YLinK member, especially enjoyed taking “to the stage to share what our groups had practiced and planned. I learned a lot and built new connections.”

YLinK-Hoisington 24
Students engage with an exhibit entitled “Vapes: Marketing an Addiction” at the recent YLinK conference at Hoisington High School.

Youth Crew/Juvenile Services

Barton County Youth Crew hosted and planned the entire event through Juvenile Services, with financial support from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.

“We appreciate the local and state support,” said Tyler Morton, Juvenile Services prevention advocate. “This event is important because it allows YLinK groups to share what they are accomplishing in coalitions all across Kansas. It is a big brainstorming session that offers a way for youth to receive encouragement from their peers.”

Jake White was invited to make his presentations because “some of our youth interacted with him at an event last year and really enjoyed his material,” Morton added. “We wanted someone who is young, someone with energy and someone who could deliver the message in a way that is attractive to this age group. Jake fit the bill.”

Fifty-seven young people attended the June 12 conference; approximately 25 were from out of town.

20th Judicial District Juvenile Services empowers youth in Barton, Rice, Ellsworth, Stafford and Russell counties to achieve positive outcomes by offering Juvenile Intake & Assessment, Immediate Intervention, Intensive Supervised Probation, Case Management, Journey to Change, Life Skills, All Stars and Youth Crew. Parents and guardians also are offered The Parent Project. Visit 1800 12th in Great Bend or call 620-793-1930.