With 4,300 affiliates to choose from, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) selected a local Club member and youth development professional from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County to host their first ever virtual National Keystone Conference on Friday, July 24, from the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club in Sarasota.
Presented by Aaron's, Inc., the Keystone Conference is an annual event where nearly 1,500 teen leaders from around the United States come together to lift up their voices and advocate for change in their communities. The event is led by an exclusive group of outstanding teens and Club advisers from Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the country who were selected through a competitive application process. Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County member Fatima D. and Teen Specialist Geoffry Gilot were appointed to serve on this National Keystone Conference Steering Committee last November and play a lead role in planning the 2020 event.
While the conference was scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., this month, the in-person event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than forgoing the event altogether, BGCA quickly transformed the multi-day conference into a virtual experience with the theme “We The Youth Declare We Will Be Heard, Seen and United.” BGCA selected Fatima and Geoffry to act as the event’s emcees.
This dynamic duo led thousands of our nation’s future leaders through invaluable discussions to discover their passion, find their voice, create plans for success and take action to make lasting change in their communities. The event also included inspirational presentations from celebrity guest speakers including poet, performer and screenwriter Lemon Andersen, as well as, actor, model, dancer and entrepreneur Damaris Lewis.
“Hosting this national event, the first one of its kind, will be one of my most cherished memories when I look back on my Boys & Girls Clubs experience,” said Fatima, who has been a Club member since 2008 and recently graduated from The-Out-of-Door Academy. “I’m so grateful for my Clubs’ support, BGCA for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and most of all, my advisor Mr. Geoffry, for encouraging me every step of the way.”
Visit this link to relive the 2020 National Keystone Conference.