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March 16, 2022 - 5:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, Youth Bureau, news, youth conference.

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Article submitted by Chelsea Green, Genesee County Youth Bureau.

The Genesee County Youth Conference Coalition sponsored the 32nd Annual Youth Conference at Genesee Community College on March 15, 2022.

This conference is offered on an annual basis to local seventh- and eighth-grade students in Genesee and Orleans County in an effort to address pertinent social issues of interest to youngsters of middle-school age. There were approximately 175 seventh- and eighth-grade students in attendance.

This year’s theme of the conference was “We Are Stronger Together.” 

The inspiring speaker, Earl Ameen made the trip up from Texas to speak with our students. Earl’s message inspired youth to believe in themselves, embrace love, and to become more kind and compassionate while respecting everyone.

A variety of human service organizations in Genesee County contributed to the event by organizing a workshop for students to attend that day. Workshops were tailored to be interesting, engaging, and hands-on while being taught valuable lessons. Some of these workshop topics were: healthy eating habits, building functional relationships, Geocaching, learning about disabilities, teambuilding, and internet safety. Dance, Yoga, and WERQ were popular workshops attended as well!

Members of the Youth Conference Committee are extremely grateful to the workshop presenters who volunteered their time to educate our area's seventh and eighth-graders. We are also grateful to the following businesses/organizations that provided discounts or donations for the conference…Genesee Community College, Genesee and Orleans County Stop DWI Programs, Community Action of Orleans & Genesee County, and Subway.

The Genesee County Youth Conference Committee is comprised of representatives from the following agencies: Genesee-Orleans County Youth Bureau, Genesee Community College, Genesee County Job Development, YMCA, Community Action, and Reality Check/Roswell.  

For more information on this year’s Genesee County Youth Conference or to find out how you can participate in the next event, call the Genesee County Youth Bureau at 585-344-3960.

Photos by Howard Owens

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March 11, 2020 - 3:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, Bullying, news, youth conference, notify.

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Everybody needs a mentor, a trusted adult, to talk with about life's difficulties, Tom Thalen, an anti-bullying expert from Michigan told a group of sixth-graders at a youth conference at Genesee Community College on Tuesday.

True, most bullying takes place in middle school, but even 15 percent of 12th-graders report being bullied on a regular basis (meaning, at least three times a month).

And nearly 15 percent of adults report being bullied at their jobs.

"Your whole life, you're going to have to deal with people who are dealing with their own hurt, who are messed up, and are going to bully you," Thelen said. 

That means, we all need to learn how to control our response, remain calm, don't react in anger or hurt, don't lash out, and find a trusted adult to talk to about it. For schoolchildren, that often means reporting it to a teacher or administrator so an adult can deal with the issue.

Thelen said he was bullied as a child and was angry and sullen until he met Mrs. Burdick, a teacher who helped him learn to not let others control his thinking and his actions.

By the time he was in high school, he recognized bullying for what it is  -- it's not teasing, it's not a joke, it's something meant to humiliate another person that attacks their identity -- and he learned to control his response.

He also learned to help protect other students from bullying.

He recalled an incident in high school when he was standing in line at lunch in the cafeteria and two boys started making comments to a girl who was new to the school about the food she was putting on her plate.

"Take an extra dessert," they said.

They made similar comments about the types and amount of food on her plate. You know what they were getting at.

Thelen did nothing that day but he said it bothered him.

Then it happened the next day. And still, he did nothing.

That night, he looked at himself in the mirror, angry at himself, and became determined not to let it happen again.

When it happened again, he gently but firmly said, "Hey, guys, cut it out."

Years later, he got a note on Facebook from that girl praising him for being an inspiration and good example to his classmates. He was confused at first. He didn't immediately think of that incident. Then when he realized who she was -- the new girl, the girl who didn't know the old Tom, the Tom who was angry and sullen, only the Tom who was going through the process of being a better human being -- only then did he understand who it was she remembered.

She remembered the guy who stood up for her. And, he understood, it made a difference.

"I can’t change the rest of the world," Thelen told the sixth-graders. "I can't change what people do. But I can change what I do. You deserve to live an emotionally intelligent life."

Tom Thelen on the web.

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March 14, 2013 - 10:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCC, schools, education, youth conference.

Press release:

The Genesee County Youth Conference Coalition sponsored its 25th Annual Youth Conference at Genesee Community College this week.

This conference is offered on an annual basis to local seventh- and eighth-grade students in an effort to address pertinent social issues of interest to youngsters of middle-school age.

This year we also invited a select group of students from Orleans County. There were approximately 500 seventh- and eighth-grade students in attendance.

This year’s theme of the conference was “Illusions … To Lead or to be Mis-Led.” 

The keynote speaker, nationally known Illusionist Tom Coverly, addressed the kids in the areas of bullying, respect and positive decision-making. 

After the keynote, students attended two morning workshops, were provided lunch and then attended an interactive afternoon workshop. Professionals from the community volunteered their time to provide information to the students in their respective fields of expertise.

Workshops were provided in the areas of…Communication, Yoga, Nutrition, Careers, Pet Therapy, Zumba, Triple D-Dodgeball (Drug and Alcohol Awareness Game), Conflict Resolution, Dance, Getting Active with GPS, Creating Artist Trading Cards, Assuring a Positive Future and many others.  

Members of the Youth Conference Committee are extremely grateful to the workshop presenters who volunteered their time to educate our area seventh and eighth graders. We are also grateful to the following businesses/organizations that provided discounts or donations for the conference…Genesee County Stop DWI Program, Upstate Milk and Subway.

The Genesee County Youth Conference Committee is comprised of representatives from the following agencies: Batavia Youth Bureau, Genesee County Youth Bureau, Genesee Community College, GCASA and YMCA.  

For more information on this year’s Genesee County Youth Conference or to find out how you can participate in the next event, call the Batavia Youth Bureau at 585-345-6420 or the Genesee County Youth Bureau at 585-344-3960.

Submitted photo: Pictured are the 500 seventh and eighth graders and their school chaperones who attended the 2013 Genesee County Youth Conference held at GCC on March 12, being addressed by Tom Coverly, “The Illusionist,” and Keynote Speaker.

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