Youth conference hatches ideas and interest

Published 11:07 pm Friday, July 27, 2012

Participants in the annual Selma Youth Conference work to complete vessels to transport and protect an egg during an egg drop project Friday at the Performing Arts Center. The project came on day three of the annual four-day conference. -- Ashley Johnson

Normally when an egg is dropped to the ground it cracks open and splatters, making a mess. But on Friday morning, 20 area children, ages 12 and up, discovered a way to scientifically keep eggs from breaking using tin foil, cotton balls and popsicle sticks. These students were part of the four-day City of Selma Youth Conference.

“We hope that we spark in interest an science and math,” Chancee Lundy, an environmental scientist with the conference said. Lundy, a Selma native that now owns her own environmental agency in Washington D.C., is just one of the many speakers for the conference, hoping to give children in Selma something they would not normally receive.

“The experience at the Youth Conference in general is that it gives kids exposure to things that they ordinarily would not get to see or have the opportunity to participate in, in Selma,” Lundy said.

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She was part of the programs that specifically targeted having fun with science and math. On Friday, the youth participated in an egg drop in which they were given several materials to keep an egg from breaking upon dropping it from a ladder.

Lundy said it is fun projects like the egg drop that can get kids thinking and interested in things like physics.

The conference, now in its fifth year, began in 2009 with councilwoman Angela Benjamin.

“This is to make that holistic approach [to learning] become a reality,” Benjamin said. “Because we want citizens that are well-rounded who are able to work with others.”

Benjamin said, among other things, this conference seeks to bring youth together, educate them, and develop both individual leadership skills as well as team-leadership skills.

One unique factor of the conference is that it is a walking conference and Benjamin said this means the youth walk from workshop to workshop, inspiring a healthy lifestyle.

Among the workshops, the students participated in an anti-bullying class, a self-esteem workshop just for girls, and one for males and life skills training in which the youth learned about living on a budget.