Youth Leadership Experience Inspires Utah Teens to Lead the Inclusion Revolution

By Katie Hut

July 13, 2018

Being part of the 2018 USA Games’ debut of the Youth Leadership Experience (YLE) was such an incredible learning opportunity. It became a true catalyst for change in how my YLE partner Natalie and I view inclusion.

The Youth Leadership Experience brought together high school students from across the U.S., with and without intellectual disabilities, for a week of volunteering and training on how we could be agents of change within our schools and communities.

During our week at the USA Games, we had the opportunity to participate in volunteer shadowing, supporting interscholastic sports, volunteering at the Young Athletes Festival and conducting interviews. Through these activities we learned that inclusion is not only about giving everyone equal opportunities, but also about making lasting friendships, being true to yourself and making small efforts to make others feel included. Inclusion is a matter of persistence and taking a stand for what you believe in.

Natalie and I have thought about why this movement is so important and came to the conclusion that it all revolves around our own humanity. We owe it to each other to show respect and love to everyone. Even though Nat and I are already both involved in the Special Olympics movement at home, we are fired up to be better leaders of inclusion. We want to spread the message to our schools and create meaningful opportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities to be unified. We all need to be part of the Inclusion Revolution. In Nat’s words, “Never give up!”

Katie Hut and Natalie Green are rising seniors and represented Special Olympics Utah at the Youth Leadership Experience.

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