NYLC Conferences

Dare to Dream, 28th National Service-Learning Conference, Anaheim, California

Traveling Day March 21, 2017:  Arrival to Disneyland Hotel

After good flights and meeting interesting people on board of planes, we arrived to "rainy California."  We settled at the Disneyland Hotel and did a little bit of shopping before dinner.  It was so cold outside that after dessert, the girls rested and did homework.

There was a small group of teens at the Teen Room (Zafari) doing icebreakers such as Bingo and elevator speeches to introduce themselves.  I asked where the breakfast would be tomorrow before the day of service and I encountered the Exhibit Hall.

Tomorrow we have a big day of service ahead of us.  I do not like the rain, but the state needs it.  We just will have to wear layers!  The adventure begins!

Tuesday 3/21: By Sahanya

Today, Mrs. Clay, Mrs. Omelia, Mason, Cooper, and I headed off to California for the National Service Learning Conference. We boarded a plane to sunny Phoenix where we then took a connecting flight to Santa Ana. On our drive from Santa Ana to Anaheim, we got to know our driver who actually had lived in Oklahoma for a while! 

I found our hotel rooms really cute since they had little pillows on the bed that quoted lyrics from “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”. 

After relaxing for a little bit, Mason, Cooper, and I went to explore Downtown Disney. We visited tons of little shops and bought face masks to try later that night! 

Mrs. Clay met up with us for dinner which we ordered to-go since it started to rain. We ate in our rooms, got ready for bed, caught up on homework, and had fun, relaxing with our face masks on. 

We went to sleep pretty early so we could prepare for the Day of Service that was up ahead. Overall, it was a relaxing night following a tiring day of travel. 

This night was one of my favorites of the trip because I was able to get to know the girls I would be spending the rest of the week with on a closer level outside of school! 

Day 1: Service Day

The Shinnyo-en Foundation sponsored a day of clean-up at Bolsa Chica State Beach, better known by the locals as trash alley on March 22, 2017, UN's World Water Day.  200 teens and their faculty sponsors  from around the United States, and many countries around the world attended.

The day was facilitated by the NYLC YAC with an advocacy for our seas breakfast that featured humorous moments and a serious short video of the state of our ocean waters and beaches.  There was also a welcome from a park ranger since the beach we were about to visit is  part of our national parks.  We learned that it takes 50 years for a can to disappear from our beaches and that styrofoam breaks in such small pieces that never really degrades.  The tiny particles are confused as food hurting our birds.  The park ranger also provided some safety guidelines.

The breakfast consisted of a hardy ham sandwich and a variety of drinks.  We were provided with a backpack that contained a bottle of water (we needed to bring the bottle back to the hotel for a service project) and an energy bar.

After breakfast we were divided into groups by the color of our wrist bracelets provided to us at registration.  Our blue group was divided into smaller groups and NYLC YAC teens facilitated a get to know each other deep listening dialog that also empowered us to reflect on the significance of our actions in a personal and global way.

After a very tasty lunch, we had clean-up competitions and reflected the day.  The NYLC YAC facilitator called us to share a Rose (fun moment), a Bud (looking forward), and a Thorn (something that made us think).

At 4:00 pm, the Casady Dare to Dream Team set-up the "It is your turn to serve" showcase at the exhibit hall and Mrs Clay's sister Lyly Bird joined the team for the opening plenary and the celebration. The cost for one day was $60 because of joining the celebration and background checks.  She might come back to be with us more depending on her schedule.

The Opening plenary featured a welcome by the NYLC CEO and an inspirational call to action by the Frederick Douglas Family Foundation.  The Foundation provided participants with a copy of "Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" at the snacks celebration that follow the plenary where Minnie and Mickey welcome us Disney style.

Photos by Cooper L.

We first went to breakfast, where all the
attendees were. We split up into smaller groups, where
 we met people from Arkansas, Boston, and Texas.
Then,we left the Disneyland hotel to head to the Bolsa
Chica State Beach. 

When we got to there we explored the beach and
started to pick up trash. It was very eye opening to see
 how people have been treating the beach.

 We worked hard picking up as much trash as we could. We even made it a competition to see who could pick up 2 full bags in 30 minutes. Overall the experience was incredible and we all were happy to help the community and learn more about our environment. 

After our long day of work, we reflected upon it. We all shared our rose (our favorite part of the day), Bud (what were looking forward to), and our thorn (Something you were still thinking about). We, then,went back to the hotel to set up our showcase, which will be open on Thursday and Friday. 
After the Day of Service, the Dare to Dream team set-up the showcase in the exhibit room
600 people attended the 28th NYLC Service-Learning Conference.  The number of international participants was equal to the number of  US participants

Day 2: Workshops, Showcase, Onsite Projects, Reflection

Today, group members chose different workshops. The Casady Dare to Dream team showcased their projects. Some members attended the plenary sessions others chose to explore onsite projects. 


Matt Severson, Founder of School Fund X, the moonshot factoryDates Employed
Business development and product partnerships for Project Loon, Project H (a confidential clean energy project) and other early-stage X projects.

Steven Culbertson,

At the end of the day, the group decided to skip the parties to shop and do homework.

After dinner, Sahanya led the first reflection.   We shared thoughts about people who taught us something and a person or idea that moved us to action.

Exploring a personal spark to serve, connecting to Middle Division SEE Periods, and the process of backwards design creation of a non profit and how to market ideas were mentioned by the teens. Memorable workshops were Managing a nonprofit, a 17 year old survival guide (the process and the marketing), Change begins with a leader in me (IPARD encountered), Food for Change (sugar and nutrition activities), and Knowledge and the End of Slavery Forever (Daring to Dream placing millions of books in the hands of people and making it a reality overcoming all obstacles).

Making Learning Relevant, Connecting STEM to Social Justice

Food for Change

How much sugar is in your drink? Nutrition, Diabetes Prevention

Food Apartheid
Feed a family of 4 with $5 with groceries from a local store or Whole Foods

I cannot afford to see nutrition.  McDonals has the $1 Menu and I have 4 mouths to fee and no time or transportation to grocery shop

Food Apartheid

Mrs. Omelia and Mrs. Clay reflected during tea time before dinner at a local restaurant.  Mrs. O'melia share the desire to explore a more intentional collaborative effort between the SEE Period and the Upper Division YAC as a consequence of the workshops she attended and from viewing the showcase presentations.  Mrs. Clay shared the "open your fist activity" as one thing she will remember the most because it brought a new teaching tool for her toolkit.  She stated on an e-mail to some Casady teachers and administrators: "At a workshop at the National Service-Learning Conference, I was very impressed by the quality and mindful presence of a group of students who presented "Food for Change" which called participants to question where does your food come from? How does your food demonstrate sustainability?  Students from high school Green Ambassadors in Southwest Los Angeles addressed food injustice in their community.  The students helped us evaluate sustainable food, show how food production contributes to the drought, and define "food desert" and "food apartheid."  The Green Ambassador Interns provided easy to reproduce activities.  Their facilitating teacher stated that the most influential book for her as an educator was ("the choice theory" The Quality School/Quality Educator by William (Bill) Glasser.  Cherylynn knew about Glasser.  Have you all read about his work?  Dr. Marcia Moore stated in a reply e-mail "Bill Glasser is a psychologist who has been around a long time and written about therapeutic intervention with adults and children, especially within the school arena.  His work is solid and well respected.  I am not familiar with the choice theory but will read about it."  Service-Learning bought the book!

As next steps, we shared possible plans of a day of interactive, connected service with the Middle Division, Best Buddies, and Boys and Girls Club. Activities such as the H20 for Life wheelbarrow, dough for blind children to develop the sensitivity they need to learn how to read and write in braille, and the save the turtles art activity by the Qatar Foundation were pinpointed as good possible experiences to create relationships and a taste for the fun of service.

ON SITE Projects

Rachel's Challenge


School Fund Youth Board

Day 3: Final Day of the Conference

After breakfast, the team attended selected workshops, described by one of the members of the team as transforming.

1. Poverty Simulation: Almost all of the world population exists at some level of poverty. Impoverish people do not have access to health care, housing, food, and water  The simulation taught causes of poverty as well as how to assuage poverty.

2. Advocacy for Introverts:  Where do introverts fit in? What strengths do they possess? Is advocacy possible for the introverts?  The workshop answered this questions in an interactive way.

3. Non-Violence and Human Rights: Dialog for Change: By 2030, the UN Sustainable Development Goal # 4 aims to have all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote education, human rights, gender equality, peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity.  This workshop was a dialog to work for health, well being, and education of children through the creation of stronger institutions and partnerships.

4. Book Talk: A book boots the learning, the understanding, the emotional connections, the perspectives, the ideas, and the desire to read more relevant and inspiring books.  Whatever your service-learning theme, there are books waiting for you.

Some members of the group experienced the awards ceremonies while others  tore-down the showcase from the exhibit hall and packed it for the return flight home.
Image may contain: 4 people, people on stage
The awards ceremony was a learning process in itself. Funding for the Corporation of National and Community Service is being cut which will affect the AmeriCorps Program.  As the awardees had a panel discussion of their projects and next steps, conference participants learned that the Corporation of National Service and Americorps budget is in trouble.  Awardees issue a call to reach out to our legislators to place these organizations in the budget.

The inspirational speaker was a 15-year old poet Royce Mann. He shared his original poem, Let's Rise Up!  Here is the poem delivered by Royce on MLK Day from YouTube

After lunch, the team attended the post conference reflections opportunities facilitated by the National Youth Leadership Council based on Minnesota.  Sahanya attended Influencing Action, How every person can be a leader.

The rest of the team did an interactive reflective exercise called Open Spaces.  Both activities will be field tested at home in the month of May during YAC meetings and during the FedEx Time.

Notes taken at every table at this Google Document


Sahanya left the group to visit with family and return a day earlier to OKC.  The rest of the team went on to dinner, started the chapel presentation and participated in the world of color presentation starting at 9:00 pm.

The service-learning adventure ended with and evening presentation of Disney's World of Color at Disney California Adventure

Planning Demonstration of Learning

At the airport during breakfast and layover time, the Casady Dare to Dream team planned their demonstration of learning.  Father Blizzard will provide chapel times if available, but the firs opportunity to demonstrate the team's learning will come during National Volunteer Week at the Presidential Service Awards Breakfast on Monday, April 24, 2017, at 7:30 am at the Casady Wing.   

Youth Service America CEO challenges Cyclones to connect personal service projects to United Nations Goal for Sustainable Development

Freshman Cooper L. will be the team's spokesperson, but every member of the team has contributed to the demonstration of learning by providing a narrative of their experience at the 28th National Service Learning Conference in California.

Explaining project to CEO of the Frederick Douglas Foundation

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