CROWN POINT - Youth from Essex County joined youth from St. Lawrence County and Franklin County at Paul Smith's College for a day of learning about leadership, teamwork and choices.
The conference motto was TLC and conference organizers are hoping that youth at the conference will come away with skills that will help them to take good care of themselves.
Teens from Ticonderoga, Moriah and Crown Point attended.
Conference organizer, Doug Terbeek, executive director of the Prevention Team in Ticonderoga, said, "We hope that youth leave the conference inspired to bring back to their community what they learned here."
The keynote speaker was Frank Pastizzo. Pastizzo is an inspirational speaker and youth leader. He conducted workshops on the topic of leadership and what leaders do and how they affect other people around them.
Erika Stadtlander, author of many children's books and plays and a veteran theatre director, provided workshops on utilizing theatre as a vehicle for talking about important youth issues.
The Essex County Youth Bureau was able to secure a grant for the theatre workshop.
According to Scot Hurlburt from the Essex County Youth Bureau, "The youth bureau has been conducting youth surveys for more than 10 years and the surveys reveal that Essex County under-age drinking rates are unacceptably high. We hope that by utilizing a theatre format we can have another opportunity to speak with young people and to provide youth with a platform for expressing their feelings about the issue."
Filmmaker James Valastro offered a workshop on media messages and techniques of filmmaking.
The Ticonderoga youth group produced a series of short films that respond to manufacturers that target youth such as alcohol and cigarette manufacturers.
The conference also featured a team-building workshop that was facilitated by Hurlburt and co-facilitated by the Ticonderoga youth group.
Planning has been under way to field a larger, Essex County specific, youth conference in 2009.