Be Inspired by Getting to Learn From People Working on the Ground

Hello, everyone, I am Srey Sros and am from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Today’s schedule is filled with 4 interesting and informative lectures from 4 distinctive speakers.

We kicked start our morning with a lecture by Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Missoula County, Susan Hay Patrick on “Strategic Planning and Evaluation”. I find the vision of her organization to be very inspiring. In a way, it reminds me that even though the number of people who really care about crucial issues like hunger, obesity, homeless and suicide is very small, these people are passionate in what they do and profits or money can not go in the way of pursuing their goal. On the other hand, strategic planning is a skill that youth like me are building on and it was always very interesting to discuss about the topic with someone who has been practicing and applying it in the real world for a long time. Her advices and answers on our questions really give us an assurance and guidance in improving our strategic planning and evaluation skills.

I was very fascinated by the second lecture on “Engaging Youth to Take Action” by Project UNIFY Director, LeAnn Dolly Powell. Even though she is young, she has gone great lengths to ensure that people with intellectual disability has a chance to get trained and enjoy sports and participate in different sport events, particularly, Special Olympics. Being someone who has had the experiences of feeling left out because of a certain criteria that I don’t have, I know exactly of how it feels to be ignored by friends or society. Therefore, what LeAnn is doing is truly amazing, it is changing peoples’ lives and again these are some of things that some societies overlook and tend to not see people with disabilities as equal as a physically or intellectually normal person. I am so inspired by her volunteering experiences.

Our third session was a Leadership Workshop on Communication Strategies for Campaigns by Mr. Zack Porter. It was definitely something very new that he brought to the table for us. We usually have lectures on how to address environmental issues but his lecture taught us the next steps we need to take which was delivering the message to the targeting audience. I think this will be very useful in helping us implementing our country project. Dr. Dane Scott who is Director of Center for Ethics at the University of Montana did the last session of the day. He totally got the whole class hooked up in thinking about who should be paying the price for the environmental pollution that has been emitted out there. To me, it was very captivating to include ethics in talking about environmental issues. In a way, it made us seeing things from a different perspective and that was amazing to understand different problems and really know in-depth of how we should tackle problems, in particular, environmental issues, based on not only politics but also ethics.

I finished the day by biking to SouthGate Mall with some of my friends. Everyday we have fun and we learn something new. We might be altogether having the the time of our life.


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