Mid-Michigan Idlewilders Youth Committee hosts 3-day youth conference

Committee member: 'Our whole theme is on positive behavior through artistic outlets'

BITELY — Painting, dance, drama, poetry, an obstacle course and more, young people explored creative outlets during a three-day youth conference presented by Mid-Michigan Idlewilders Youth Committee and Pure Performance Arts at Shangri-La Resort, which donated use of the facility. 

"We have several members, and we were trying to come up with ideas that would stimulate the environment so kids could come out and enjoy some of the nature," said Doresa Walton-Mack, of the Mid-Michigan Idlewilders Youth Committee. "Our whole theme is on positive behavior through artistic outlets."

Youth enjoyed dance, drama, art, an obstacle course, and so much more, to unleash their creativity as well as working together to come up with conflict resolutions, as well as affirmation and building self-esteem. 

Some old-fashioned fun activities were offered with the obstacles course, such as filling a bucket with water, jumping over hurdles, tug-of-war and sack races. With one of the activities, they could earn dollar bills to buy gifts. The person who earned the most got first-place prize, a $100 gift card to Walmart. Second place was $50, and third place was $25. 

Movie night on Friday at the Mid-Michigan Idlewilder Event Center was a hit, with Wesco donating popcorn for the youth to snack on while watching "The Greatest Showman." The activity involved  critical thinking, as they watched the movie. The younger kids were teamed with the older kids to work together through the obstacle course. They also had to come up with conflicts presented in the movie and how they could be resolved. 

"The one thing that is really interesting, is they picked out every conflict in the movie that you could think of. They were so articulate," Walton-Mack said. 

She explained another activity, through dance and the song, "This is Me," taught by ChaDorea Robinson, dance instructor for the Lansing School District. 

"They're going to strut their stuff and talk about 'this is me' for affirmations, with 'I am brave, I am strong, I am resilient' or whatever they create. The girls are going to dance to the song. Ms. ChaDorea Robinson came up here and did the dance for us. We're having fun," Walton-Mack said.

One of the highlights of the event was a relaxing time by the lakeside at Shangri-La Resort, learning painting skills from author and artist Judy Morris, along with her daughter, Rosalyn Morris, with a theme of birds. Beautiful yellow birds and hummingbirds were among the bright, colorful masterpieces by the young artists-in-training. As a fundraiser Sunday, at the MMIEC, these pieces were auctioned off. 

Along with the many empowering and creative activities, kids got to unwind and enjoy swimming at the pristine lakefront at the Shangri-La Resort.

The success of the conference is thanks to all the Mid-Michigan Youth Committee members and committee supporters. Organizers also give special thanks to Wesco for donating popcorn and Vedra Gant, of Yates Dial-a-Ride, for her donation, and all who supported the event.