The 2014 Connecting Young Nebraskans Summit provides opportunities for young leaders

Kearney, NE – 197 young leaders from across the state of Nebraska came together on November 6th and 7th for the 2014 CYN Summit in Kearney. The summit resulted in the sharing of big ideas, participants energizing each other and conversation about envisioning a brighter future for our communities and our state.

The event was coordinated by representatives of the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska and a local summit planning team comprised of young leaders from the Kearney, Hastings, and Grand Island communities. Participants came from 48 different communities including 66 students from various high schools and colleges.

The summit’s sessions introduced attendees to new ideas and experiences, helping to broaden young leaders’ perspectives and allowing them to think outside the box. One session allowed participants to experience living with limited resources, through a poverty simulation put on by UNL Extension, followed by a conversation about addressing poverty and food insecurity issues in the state of Nebraska.

Keynote speaker, Joe Gerstandt, encouraged summit attendees to put the power of authenticity, divergent thinking, and constructive conflict to work to unleash creativity and innovation in Nebraska communities and organizations. “Joe was funny, engaging and he challenged us to think about the role we play in the future of our communities and our state, it was powerful,” says CYN Coordinator, Kayla Schnuelle.

Attendees walked away with relationships, resources, and tools to grow professionally, personally, and as a civic and community leader. In creating new ideas through CYN, attendees were able to understand and respect differences while working towards a unified goal of becoming a great state to live and work. Wes Blecke, Executive Director of Wayne Area Economic Development said, “It never ceases to amaze me that anytime people, especially young professionals, who have never met each other get together and network, profound connections can be made to change the way people think and act. Simple, single connections can do this! #CYN2014 did not disappoint!”

The CYN Summit is a gathering of the Connecting Young Nebraskans network, which is supported by the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska. Connecting Young Nebraskans (CYN) is designed to connect, empower and retain young Nebraskans. CYN strives to enhance opportunities for individuals to impact their communities through networking and learning experiences. The network is a dynamic and diverse group of peers with a passion for making a difference, a willingness to learn and the desire to build important relationships to help shape the future of Nebraska.

If you are interested in what young leaders are doing in Nebraska or information about future CYN Summits visit ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/cyn-summit or Connecting Young Nebraskans (CYN) on facebook. Contact Kayla Schnuelle, CYN Coordinator, for more information, kschnuelle@nebraska.edu.