I left with Cate, Deb, and 5 students on March 12th for the National Youth Leadership Council conference in Denver, Colorado for 4 days. On the way, we stopped through the Badlands, and it was one of the coolest things that i've ever seen. It was awesome to get out and explore them a bit since a lot of us hadn't seen them before. This only made me more excited to get to the mountains. After bathroom breaks, food stops, detours to the Corn Palace and Carhenge, and a night in Nebraska, we finally made it to the Hyatt Hotel. We settled in our rooms the went to the convention center to set up our display. We poked the hotel around before the "grand opening" of the youth room. When we realized it was like a 6 year olds birthday party, we called it a night so we'd be rested and ready to start workshops in the morning. Taylor and Danny joined me in a student lead workshop after breakfast was done. The workshop was called The Students of Today ARE the Leaders of Today. Four students from Project UNIFY, in partners with Special Olympics, shared their inspiring stories about how they got involved. Two of the presenters actually compete in Special Olympics, and one girl named Danielle had a story that stuck out to me, and probably everyone else. Danielle was born with Cerebral Palsy and in 3rd grade, her teacher told her that she would never understand and she asked too many questions. After the workshop, she spoke at one of the plentaries with her best friend. She elaborated more about her journey and Kaitlyn, her friend, explained how getting involved in her community changed how life. It was touching that they both saw each others as equals and that's what bonded them together. Dwayne Betts also shared his story at one of the plentaries and Taylor, Austin and i attended a discussion group during an afternoon workshop. It didn't go as well as i thought it could, but it was interesting to hear his views on some things. Also, South African social activist Desmond Tutu's daughter, Naomi spoke about world peace. On Thursday and Friday, we had showcase time and it gave us time to go around and check out other school's displays. Some of the projects and organizations were doing a lot of good things to help make the world a better place. Project Ignition had booths set up and each one had something different to instigate safe driving. Since Denver was a foreign city, we went out to eat at Ace, a local Asian restaurant. We went and walked around an outdoor mall that was across our hotel on the way back from dinner. The next day, we skipped workshops to go see the mountains and to eat at the Dam Brewery. They had the best mashed potatoes! When we got back to the hotel, we all got ready and headed back o the convention center for a dance. We awoke the next morning and loaded the van before heading off to do our service work. When we arrived to our service site, we all determined that we'd be laying down mulch. We were only there for about 2 and half hours, but we distributed 3 huge piles in plant beds and around trees. I thought that there was no way we'd run out, so it was surprising when we did. During our work, i met new people from Taiwan, Qatar and LA. It was cool to get to know them and to come together to do something good for a Denver community. Next year, I would like to attend the conference in DC. I had a lot of fun meeting new people and connecting with Danny, Taylor, Emilee, Austin and Jimmy over the past 6 days. We all got along great and I couldn't have asked for a better time.