Youth Summit to discuss stereotypes, gender roles and the media

Originally published in The Vacaville Reporter on April 12, 2016 By Kimberly Fu.
Youth Summit to discuss stereotypes, gender roles and the mediaA group of Vacaville teens are in the midst of a revolution and they’re hoping to recruit other youths to the cause.
The goal — youth empowerment.
The method — the 2016 Operation Representation Youth Summit, bearing the theme “Stereotypes, Gender Roles & the Media and How it Affects You.”
The event, set for 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. April 30 at Ulatis Cultural Center in Vacaville, is all about bringing awareness to issues facing youths and how to deal with them.
“It hasn’t been done in eight years,” said Sadie Cunning, 16, and president of Will C. Wood High School’s Interact Club.
The last youth summit was conducted in 2008 and hosted by Solano County, advised Anna Eaton, executive director of the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club, which is putting on the summit. Though many had considered a follow-up event, it just never happened.
Then in the last year, with the Vacaville Unified School District incorporating lesson plans from “The Mask You Live In” and “Miss Representation” into its curriculum and the Boys & Girls Club doing the same, the time, Eaton said, just seemed right to revive the summit and see what teens were thinking.
Both “The Mask” and “Miss Representation” graphically discuss gender stereotypes and the impact on Youth Summit to discuss stereotypes, gender roles and the media1teens. The curriculum also highlights perception versus reality and how youths can deal with various situations.
“We thought we could present this to the group (of youths) meant to see them,” Eaton said, emphasizing it’s by teens for teens. “If teens roll it out to other teens, it will have more of an impact.”
The summit will feature workshops, guest speakers, raffles and free food, including breakfast and lunch. Students who attend can also receive extra credit for select classes.
“There will be (workshops on) personality assessments, body image, self esteem, stereotypes,” said Sadie. “And an analysis of song lyrics.”
The end result, the teen said, “is just to get more awareness. We’re hoping that it creates an impact so we can have a community conversation.”
Fellow Interact member Katrina Basinger agreed.
“I’m really excited that it’s going to be a community of high-schoolers together,” the 18-year-old said. “It’s nice that we can all get together.”
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