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LOOKING TO THE FUTURE AT 'YOUTH SUMMIT'

More than 1,000 high school students from across Western New York headed to the Buffalo Convention Center last Wednesday for the Western New York Youth Summit, a program offering a chance to question and analyze future careers.

"The one thing that I enjoyed most about this presentation is that, in every program I attended, each representative was very enthusiastic about what they were presenting. It made me enthusiastic also," said Jessica Tucker of Allegany-Limestone High School.

Workshops offered included "Show Me the Money," "The Real Crime Scene Investigation," "Empower the Future: Be Your Own Boss," "Follow Your True Colors to the Work You Will Love" and "Trades," aimed at students who are not planning on college.

"Show Me the Money" was a workshop about money management for teens. Check writing and information that most teens don't know about credit were discussed. The problem of identity theft was also discussed.

"The workshops gave us the opportunity to experience different careers, and it gave great information about each career. Very helpful and informative," said Jenna Krzemien of Springville Griffith Institute.

In "Follow Your True Colors to the Work You Will Love," speakers helped students work in groups to find their "true colors" and connect to a career that would fit them best.

In the workshop "Empower The Future: Be Your Own Boss," Chris DelPrince, CEO of Lifestyles Street Gear, talked to the students about how starting off small got him to big places in the business world.

"The entrepreneurship presentation was the most helpful to me. The hour I spent in the room visiting many different companies and colleges answered all the questions I needed to help facilitate myself in my career choice," said Leslie Lydel of Springville-Griffith Institute.

Before lunch, keynote speaker Chad Foster talked about how choosing a career should be something that you love rather than something that will make you accepted by society -- but unhappy. Using a story about a childhood friend, Foster emphasized this point. His story focused on a childhood friend who had a passion for juggling and a mother who disagreed with what he was doing with his time. The mother said that it would never get him anywhere in life. Now his friend works on a cruise ship as an entertainer making $4,000 a week. Foster wrote best-selling books, "Teenagers: Preparing for the Real World" and "Financial Literacy for Teens: Learn Now or Pay Later."

Students came to the Youth Summit for different reasons.

"I chose to come to the Youth Summit to expose myself to elements of business that I didn't really know too much about, and I left the Youth Summit with more knowledge of business aspects than I thought was possible to learn in one day," said Melissa Maze of Silver Creek Central School.

Claire Armella and Joanna Schrader are students at Brocton Central.