The Pure Magic
of the Youth
BY JULIE ESCOBAR S omething magical happened at he 2017 NSA Youth Leadership Conference in Orlando that didn’t have anything to do with the proximity
to Disney. There, in breakout after breakout,
you found more than a hundred kids and
youth leaders all laughing, listening, learning,
and engaging at a level not commonly found
in a group of youth that large.
Here’s what was mesmerizing and
hope-fueling: There was no friction. No
judgment. No exclusiveness. No fear. No
outward evidence of “cliques.” Instead, what
you found was confidence. Camaraderie.
Compassion. Character. Connectivity. You
saw kids genuinely caring for one another
and accepting each other for who they were
in a safe and comfortable environment. You
saw young people eager to learn from each
other as well as the remarkable speakers
who graciously stepped up to share inspired
In today’s world where bullying, vitriol,
and shaming seem to regularly take center
stage, that is extraordinary.