Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs hosted her Fourth Annual Youth Leadership Conference at Rollins College in March as part of her ongoing commitment to engage students in their local government.
"We can walk through life as participants or we can walk through life as spectators," Mayor Jacobs said at the event. "Because you are here today, you are participants. A fully functioning government depends on all citizen participation, and this is one of the reasons why I hold my annual Youth Leadership Conference."
More than 200 high school student leaders from 22 Orange County Public Schools attended the half-day event which teaches students about their local government, how to participate in community initiatives and how to strengthen their leadership skills.
"The most important thing I gained from the conference was the reminder that being involved in the community is not that difficult," Winter Park High School student Jared Olson said. "We learned how to make our voices heard and how Orange County is run. It is a citizen-driven process and this conference has opened doors for me through which I know I can make a difference."
The purpose of the Conference is to expose young citizens to the many opportunities available to get involved in Orange County Government. The event is ideal for young leaders who participate in student government, community service clubs, debate teams, honor societies, and drama clubs.
This year, students were once again given the challenge to post videos on Facebook, recapping what they learned at the conference, and a chance to "job shadow" Mayor Jacobs for a day. Each high school will collaborate on their video and one school will be selected as the winner of the Mayor for a Day Challenge in late April.
A collection of photos from Mayor Jacobs’ Fourth Annual Youth Leadership Conference are available for use by the media and are located on Flickr.