Youth Symposium Offered At Booker T. Washington State Park

Monday, March 25, 2013
Facilitators and youth at Youth Symposium at Booker T. Washington State Park
Facilitators and youth at Youth Symposium at Booker T. Washington State Park

Approximately 60 youths attended the Youth Symposium sponsored by Gamma Theta Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority in partnership with the Hyksos Temple Prince Hall Shriners.  

The half-day event was at the historic Booker T. Washington State Park and was fun-filled, interactive and educational.  The theme, “H3: It’s All About Me – Healthy Choices, Healthy Living, Healthy Generations” was interjected in every phase of the agenda. 

Special guest, Deborah Shirley, presented a workshop on “Winning with the Cards You are Dealt”. Ms. Shirley, challenged participants to dream despite their situation physically, socially or economically.  She gave examples of celebrities who beat the odds in athletics, academics, and profession.  She encouraged participants to dismiss excuses as a reason for failure and to take action in pursuit of dreams.

Youth also had a group chat with a Chattanooga police officer Lee Mayweather.  In this session, youth were able to address topics that they always wanted to know about police officers.  The open dialogue was aimed to  dispel myths that teens may have about police officers so that they can respect and abide by the laws. Information was also shared on how to respond if ever stopped by a cop.

Before lunch, participants had the opportunity to run and jump as they learned about the importance of healthy living.  In addition to taking part in various fitness stations, participants were also provided information about nutrition and given information about their vital signs by students from Virginia College.  

Guest speaker, Eundra Porter provided HIV/AIDS education as he shared startling statics about the percentages and populations affected by the diseases in Hamilton County.  Mr. Porter urged the youth to think about their choices relating to sex and drug use with the knowledge that contracting one of these diseases could be the consequence. Each youth was given a card certifying they had received and understood the information presented.

Park Manager Levan Gardner led the group in a team building exercise.  The activity required the participants to form teams, communicate and work collaboratively to accomplish a goal.  Each team was given two planks of wood with rope.  They were charged with making the planks move as a unit to carry the team forward.  After the exercise, youth discussed what they learned about team work. 

Lastly, representatives from Gamma Theta Sigma and Hyksos Temple shared information about their scholarship programs and encouraged participants to apply.  Additionally, young ladies between the ages of 12 and 18 learned about the sorority’s youth affiliate, the Rhoer Club. The Rhoer Club provides mentoring and community outreach for the young ladies, and helps them develop leadership and communication skills.

To obtain information the Annual Youth Symposium or the Rhoer Club, call 423 529-0758 or email





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