Youth-powered and youth-empowering TEDxYouth@SanDiego revs up for second year


Last year, the TEDxYouth@SanDiego team had a lot to cheer about
. With such speakers as Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss; 15-year old entrepreneur Jason O’Neill; the pay-it-forward-minded cast of The Buried Life on MTV; and TED speaker and child prodigy Adora Svitak, TEDxYouth@SanDiego organizers made a splash during TEDxYouthDay 2011.

"I think what we did well last year was create a tapestry," said organizer Sonia Rhodes, "woven together with unique threads from our speakers and performers." Almost half of the speakers and performers at the event were under the age of 20, said Sonia, and the organizing team included 20 youth team members. Paired with the event’s adult organizers and speakers, TEDxYouth@SanDiego 2011 presented a wide range of viewpoints, from the high school student to the university professor.

This year, TEDxYouth@SanDiego organizers have opened up 50 spaces on the team for youth members, and these youth team members are doing everything from creating video invitations to potential speakers, to designing, creating, and publishing the 2012 website, to interacting with venue administration and drafting ideas for marketing and communications.

TEDxYouthDay team members invite author John Green to speak at the event in the style of his famous Vlog series.


Youth volunteers are split into teams, Sonia said, and these teams meet weekly during the school year and biweekly during summer break. “Each team is comprised of a business mentor, a teaching mentor, co-student leaders and a team of students,” she said. These teams allow youth volunteers to stretch their cooperative and leadership skills, and gain valuable mentoring from community members with years of experiences with ideas worth spreading in the San Diego area.

 ”Our student organizers were inspired by a quote from Buckminster Fuller when he said, ‘We are called to be architects of the future,’” said Sonia. “They’ve set out to create an event that showcases true architects of the future of all disciplines – and calls to the architects of our future – our youth.”

When asked why she wanted to join in Youth Day 2012 after already hosting an event in 2011, Sonia said, “I’ve been involved in TEDxSanDiego (adult) since inception and in my day job I ran a leadership university for 1500 leaders – so the importance of lighting a spark of possibility for our youth resonated for me immediately. I believe that through the power of ideas and the believe that anything is possible the young people of San Diego and the world we create the future we’re hoping for. That’s why this year’s event is themed ‘Architects of the Future.’”

Team members look forward to many exciting innovations at this year’s event, including a “Maker Place” equipped with 3-D printers with which attendees can experiment and a specially-designed concept car featuring an option for youth to submit ideas to the car manufacturer for future iterations of the design.

For more information on TEDxYouth@SanDiego 2012, visit their newly-launched website here: http://www.tedxyouthsandiego.com/

To find a TEDxYouthDay event near you, or an event on the other side of the globe to watch online, visit the 2012 TEDxYouthDay site here: http://tedxyouthday.ted.com/

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