Youth Leadership: Powering the Movement in 2016
Thanks to the support of the Bioneers community, over 500 youth attended the 2016 Bioneers Conference, making this year the largest youth gathering in our history. Over 400 came on full scholarships, with an additional 100+ offered discounted passes! Almost half of our youth attendees were youth of color, 100 of whom were Indigenous. In addition to our Youth Unity Tent programming, we were proud to feature youth on our main stage, including keynotes by Naelyn Pike, Ryan Camero, Kian Martin, and 16-year-old environmental activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez – whom Bioneers is thrilled to welcome as the newest member of our Board of Directors.
The Youth Leadership Program continues to reach historic thresholds each year, increasing in both size and diversity. We believe this surge of passionate youth engagement is one of the biggest signals of Bioneers’ success, and an exciting opportunity to continue producing a unique intergenerational bridge where youth and experienced leaders can interact in deeply meaningful ways.
“I was always a huge environmentalist, but Bioneers definitely refocused me toward the social justice (especially racial equity and female empowerment) aspect of the environmental movement at a deeper level than I had felt before. I was able to widen and sharpen my focus of my values, passions, and goals. I am so, so grateful!
– Megan Phelps, 17, Youth Scholarship Recipient
One of my favorite things was watching my little sisters open up to all the beauty that Bioneers had to offer. I loved seeing all the wonderful things that people are doing to help this planet. It gave me hope and strength to keep trying to fight for what’s right and to know that my support does mean something. We can make a change together.
– Lili Lopez, 24
Support like yours makes it possible for youth to continually experience life changing programming – experiences that radically expand their understanding of the diversity of visionary, solutions-oriented approaches. At Bioneers, youth have the opportunity to not only learn from their peers, but to connect with many of the world’s greatest social and scientific innovators in a learning-and-action context.
Looking ahead, Bioneers is deepening its commitment to youth leadership development and expanding our youth engagement, both at the conference and beyond. The struggle for a healthy planet and a just society will continue into the next generation, and it is essential that we invest in nurturing new leadership.
Your support is more crucial now than ever before, for Bioneers to continue building our capacity to serve youth in relevant and meaningful ways. We invite you to partner with us to empower the next generation of visionary leaders!
Arty Mangan, Youth Leadership Program Director
Ernesto Reyes, Youth Leadership Program Manager