My name is Nicole Ektnitphong and I’m excited to write as the new Youth Environmental Activist of MN (YEA! MN) Program Coordinator. If you’re curious to know more about who I am and where I’m coming from, head on over to my team biography here. September is underway and for many, including us at Climate Generation, this is the start of many things: school, programming, events and more! YEA! MN had our first gathering of the 2015-16 school year on Wednesday, September 9. At this gathering, the high school students and myself, had the opportunity to check in on how we were doing, get to know one another (new and old faces), reconnect after the summer and reground ourselves for the year ahead of us. We did this through storytelling about our hopes, fears and questions about the upcoming year. A huge focus for our first gathering was to create an inclusive and welcoming space for everyone to step into and continue cultivating as a community. At the end of time together, we had a check-out, where everyone got to voice how they were feeling and share a piece of appreciation with the group. Some students spoke about how powerful it was to feel heard and valued, especially in a bigger group of people. Some others shared how connected they already felt to one another in our first gathering. For me, I left the space feeling energized to continue building relationships, student power and our community together.
I look forward to sharing YEA! MN reflections throughout the year. Upcoming writings and reflections will feature student writers, which will give even deeper insight to youth voices and thoughts. I encourage you to engage with their writings and contribute to our discussions and actions. Until then, thanks for reading!