NYGEAR UP students had a very busy summer participating in a variety of activities, ranging from NCCEP’s Youth Leadership Summit to site specific summer programs and culminating in NYGEAR UP’s 2nd Leadership Academy at Rochester Institute of Technology.

From July 15 – 18, eight NYGEAR UP students – Allenia Robinson, Connie Tapia Herrera, Chane’l Giddens, Bria Adams, Jordan Graves, Jourdan Hill, Myron Michell and Daniel Torres-Lopez were in Washington D.C., joining with 192 other students from across the country. Days were long, beginning with breakfast at 7:30AM, ending from 10:00 to 11:00PM and filled with team building excercises and workshops. The YLS ended with a student presentation and highlighted by the Gear Up Student of the Year Award which was won by our very own NYGEAR UP student, Chane’l Giddens of Rochester (RIT).

During July and August, NYGEAR UP students took courses at The College of St. Rose, Ithaca College, Syracuse University and Roberts Wesleyan. Each site had a summer program running from one to five weeks. Spotlighted in the video is LIU’s Career Exploration Week and a trip to Broadway to explore careers in the theater.

From July 29 – August 3, NYGEAR UP held its annual weeklong Summer Leadership Academy at RIT, bringing students together from across the state, focused on leadership and STEM exposure. Students lived on campus for six days, staying in dorms, eating in dining halls, and generally getting to experience campus life like a real college student. This year’s theme, “Make it Happen,” came to life in two ways: first, students participated in a hands-on MAKER themed activities; second, students worked on developing leadership skills and building confidence. CoolSpeak, a student voice and empowerment organization worked with students for the first three days where, through a variety of activities, they learned that their voice is their power. On the final full day of camp, students participated in a hackathon run by Jim Augustine, COO of Zuckerberg Media and COO and co-founder of Sue’s Tech Kitchen, an initiative combining technology, food, and imagination for a fun and collaborative edible experience. For the hackathon, students were tasked with dreaming up a product or service that would improve the food service industry.