Riley’s Way Youth Leadership Retreats bring together high school students across the country who are emerging leaders in their schools or communities. They spend the weekend building meaningful connections, developing their leadership skills and participating in fun activities. The connections formed between them influence their individual changemaking journeys for years to come.
Past Youth Leadership Retreats
In 2019, we held our first annual Youth Leadership Retreat at Timber Lake Camp in Shandaken, NY. The Retreat brought together 100 young women and their mentors from around the country to create meaningful connections, participate in skill-building workshops around communication techniques, relationship building and action planning.
In 2020, we held our first virtual Retreat, themed Kindness in Action: Civically Engaged, Virtually Connected, Intentionally Kind. Workshops focused on the way teens can amplify their voices to drive forward movements like climate change and equality, and how they can model kind leadership.
In 2021, the theme of our Retreat was Care to Connect: Build a Kinder Tomorrow, focusing on the need to develop deep, meaningful relationships, especially as we emerge from the Covid pandemic. Leaders who care for themselves and their communities are the most capable of creating transformative change, and the retreat centered around helping teens discover how they can use these skills to build a kinder tomorrow.
In 2022, we brought together 100 young leaders around the theme The Mic Drop: Listen + Amplify with Empathy. Teens participated in leadership workshops, built lifelong connections, and brainstormed how to use what they learn to build a kinder world. They heard from young activists on how to advocate for issues they care about through the lens of kindness, how to communicate with empathy and power, and how to bring people together to facilitate conversations.
In 2023, we held our first all gendered Youth Leadership Retreat for 120 young leaders, themed From Roots to Ripples: Leadership and the Power of Identity. Participants learned how the many aspects of their identity shape who they are as a kind leader. They heard from a youth-led panel on the power of identity, took workshops on communication styles and networking, and discussed leadership opportunities and challenges.
Hear from our attendees:
“Riley’s Way deeply understands what the power of advocacy and using one’s voice to spark change means, especially in the context of youth leadership in the modern world. From including amazing students during the planning process, to providing participants with the fulfilling opportunity to learn from and connect with leaders, authors, speakers, and role models.” – Gillian, 2022 Retreat Participant
“Before the Retreat, I saw kindness as a positive trait to have in leadership (and in life in general), although ruthlessness and assertiveness were often valued in the spaces I work in… In a little under 48 hours, I realized that kindness isn’t just a positive trait to have. Kindness is a crucial trait to have if you intend on creating effective and sustainable change, and it doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive with taking initiative, working hard, or making yourself heard. The girls and staff at the Retreat showed me that. They showed me how to listen to, learn from, and lift up others through kindness.” – Ashley, 2019 participant
Help make the 2024 Retreat experience one participants will never forget! Contact Stephanie Kingston, Engagement and Events Director, at email@example.com for sponsorship opportunities.