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News Release
Capital City Youth Committee Invites Mid-Valley Teens To Spring Summit - 02/16/24

High School Youth Welcomed to the 15th Annual ILEAD Youth Leadership Summit 

SALEM, Ore. - Teens at ILEAD Youth Leadership Summit will attend workshops focusing on college and career readiness, financial literacy, health and well-being, and leadership development. The Summit is set for Saturday, March 2, 2024. This year’s Salem location features the  Knudson Branch of the Boys & Girls of Salem, Marion, and Polk Counties. The free, one-day event is open to any high school-aged teen living in the Mid-Willamette Valley. 

“We have a wide variety of workshops and presenters this year including Oregon State University, Oregon Native American Education Foundation, Goodwill Industries, Salem Health, and even Western Oregon University and South Salem High School student presenters,” said Summit Director Laurie Shaw Casarez. “All of our speakers seek to build on participant knowledge and understanding of themselves and the ‘real world’ around them, equipping them to be more ready for life after high school.”

“ILEAD helps you gain real-life experience, get involved, and make a real difference in your community,” said teen committee member Henry Baker, an 11th grader at West Salem High School

The nine-person teen committee selected workshop content they felt would help peers embrace the change that is fast-approaching most high school-aged youth. Topics address:

  • personal finances,
  • starting a business and/or heading to college,
  • mental and physical healthy lifestyle tips,
  • discovering strengths and interests, and 
  • goal setting

ILEAD is available to teens in Marion, Polk, and Linn counties.

"The thing I’m most looking forward to at ILEAD is being able to meet new people, who are also interested in not only bettering themselves, but just going to new experiences!” said Sofia Castellanos, an 11th grader at South Salem High. 

“I joined the youth committee with others from North Salem, Chemawa, Early College, South Salem, and West Salem High Schools to help my peers find the tools and resources that can set them up for success and embrace the future,” added Kaiden Armstead, a McKay High School 11th grader. 

Registration closes Thursday, February 29. The registration link is found on the ILEAD Youth Summit webpage and includes workshop descriptions and transportation information. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and includes meals, games, giveaways, a DJ, and an event T-shirt for all teen participants.

Coordinated by the City of Salem Youth Development Services, ILEAD is produced each year by a planning committee of youth and stakeholders. Marion County Health and Human Services, Salem Health: Hospitals and Clinics, Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties, and City of Salem are the March 2024 main sponsors. 

Note:  For student interviews, email

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