A Peek Into How the Winter Institute Is Creating Change Agents at SYI

SYI-planningThis week, we host 27 rising Mississippi high school sophomores and juniors in Oxford at the fifth Summer Youth Institute. Some of you have asked how SYIers learn to change their communities for the better; here is one of the many ingredients in SYI’s nine-day secret sauce:

(Background: Each SYIer leaves Oxford having planned a project based on a particular need of her/his community, and presents it on the final day. We are thrilled as these projects take root and grow statewide with each SYI class!)

An exercise on Wednesday divided the SYIers into four groups; each was responsible for planning a project for the fictitious “SYIville” community. Projects ranged from a Spring Concert Series to managing a community divided over a uniform dispute among SYIville’s various schools.

The group that had to address a school uniform controversy role-played a community meeting to show how they would reach a compromise; the concert group engaged with the audience about, among other planning elements, the pros and cons of corporate sponsorships.

With each exercise, SYIers take another step toward being change agents for our state. Each day these young Mississippians’ ideas and passions move closer to real-world projects tailored to their communities’ needs.

After SYI, our Youth Engagement team assists SYIers during the year as they build their projects.

We will keep you informed about the projects that grow out of the fifth year of Summer Youth Institute. They will be listed on the AwesomeWall on the Institute website (the link currently gives you a look at the 2013 SYI class’s projects).

SYI-planning2From sponsorships to music genres, all aspects of planning a spring concert are discussed.

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