The students joined about 180 students from 25 chapters across southern Missouri who attended conference, which featured a keynote address from local entrepreneur and philanthropist Doug Pitt.
The day served as a kickoff for YEP's 2011-12 school year, as well as a chance for YEP chapters to share their successes and learn from one another during two 40-minute breakout sessions. Advisers and students from eight YEP chapters with particularly active memberships and successful or innovative fundraisers, including the Purdy YELP, led small group sessions.
"We are proud to host such a wonderful group of young philanthropists at our annual conference," said Bridget Dierks, director of non-profit services for the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. "The students enjoyed Mr. Pitt's keynote and were very impressed with his work with nonprofits both locally and internationally. We are very pleased with the philanthropic ideas shared amongst southern Missouri students."
Pitt's keynote centered on treating philanthropy with an attitude of quality business leadership, as well as the need for dedication, passion and ethical thought. He also stressed the importance of thinking as a collective and getting the younger generation getting involved now.
"Now, you are not one person," Pitt said. "Working together, you are stronger. You've got drive. You've got spark. You possess the tools to make change happen. In the end, it's about changing lives for the better."
In addition to Pitt's keynote, students heard from Dawn Hiles, vice president for enrollment management at Drury University, and were invited to take guided tours of the Drury campus following the conference.
The Youth Empowerment Project of the Ozarks is a youth-oriented and directed project of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the Rural Schools Partnership.
The mission of the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) is to empower youth to positively impact their community. This is accomplished through education, service, fundraising and grantmaking. The Community Foundation of the Ozarks assists a network of Youth Empowerment Project chapters throughout the Missouri Ozarks.
For more information about YEP, visit www.yepozarks.org.