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YAB brings home the gold by Deborah Kosnar, news editor

Located at 33 Liberty Street, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s main entrance is guarded by five police offers. After getting past the guards with a proof of identification, one must empty their pockets, walk through a metal detector, and make their way towards the security desk to be signed in. The high ceilings and detailed tile work assure entries they’re not on the busy streets of Manhattan anymore. Youth About Business held its 19th Annual National Summer Business Camp Awards Celebration at the Federal Reserve Thursday, November 11th.

This year the organization only invited students who were on the top three teams and those on the Northeast leadership team in order to have a bigger executive turn out.

“YAB is very thankful of the support it receives form the executive community. It takes over 300 executive volunteers to make the program work in the Northeast Region alone! Also, many firms that supply executive volunteers also support financially to cover student costs. Executive financial support covers about 90% of all student costs in the YAB program. With that in mind, we always want to make an effort to show our appreciation to key supporters, executive volunteers, and sponsors of the program,” said Alvin Wade, Summer Business Camp Director.

    The evening started with a private student-tour of the Gold Vault, located five stories below ground. One gold bar is worth approximately $630,000 and weights about 25 pounds. Students were given the opportunity to hold the gold and to determine that one bar can feel like 50 pounds.

The tour was not what many students expected. “It’s amazing how they [The Federal Reserve] have everything arranged and planned. Like their ‘just in case plan’ for if they ever run out of money. It was amazing how I got to hold $633,000 in my two hands. It’s a once in a life time opportunity and I’m very thankful to this program for giving me this opportunity. It’s like they say, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’,” said Yanhel Ponce, Eastwood Academy of Houston, Texas.

    After a short cocktail hour full of food and networking, attendees were asked to sit down and give their attention to the power-point presentation. Sponsored by the McGraw-Hill, “The McGraw-Hill Companies proudly salute Youth About Business as they celebrate two decades of preparing tomorrow’s leaders today.”

Carl Turnipseed, Executive Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, welcomed everyone to the event.

    “I’m inspired by the impressive young people in the Youth About Business program. I know all to well the many complex challenges that they’ve had to overcome to get to where they are today. Our young people are so fortunate to have a ‘ring-side view’ of the Federal Reserve. You are our nations’ leaders. You can become anyone you want to be and are destined to to great things in life…I believe in you and hope that you do too.”
Mr. Turnipseed also shared three imperatives for the students which included, “Continue to follow your dreams and always believe in yourself, chance favors the prepared mind, and remember to give back.”
Diane Ashley, Chief Diversity Officer of the Reserve gave a quick presentation on the OMWI story, office of minority and women inclusion. Ms. Ashley is responsible for ensuring all employees reach their full potential to grow.
Mr. Samuel Kirk, Executive Director of Youth About Business informed the audience that the program started with seven students down in Nashville, Tennessee. This summer, the 1st team to ever come from Japan will be participating. He also claimed that, “20 years is a milestone, and it’s been an amazing ride.”

The champions of Advanced Camp, which was held at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, have not yet been determined due to a three-way tie for 1st place. On Thursday, December 8th, the CEOs of the top three teams will be flown to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia to find out the winners.

Mr. Wade then announced the winners of the 2011 Championship Camp. First place winners, Ellen Blas, Jelani Denis, Eugene Rozygrayev, and Edwin Yus of the Northeast Region received stock in General Mills.

“We hear so many negative things about our teens…I think our future is going to be great as I look around this room,” said Mr. Kirk.

As always, Youth About Business not only recognizes the work of their students, but of their corporate partners as well.

This year’s Diversity Champion was awarded to Kimberly B Davis, President of the JP Morgan Chase Foundation. Mark Rington accepted her award on her behalf and said, “We have to be a society that is committed to the values of our communities. I hope that you understand that Chase appreciates the work that you have done.”

The Corporate Sponsor of the Year was presented by Marc Latman, Partner at Fulbright and Jaworski LLP who feels the partnerships with corporation “really do make a difference.”

“All of you are champions, it doesn’t matter what an award says. We’re all proud of you,” said Mr. Latman.

The Corporate Sponsor Award went to Deloitte and Touche, with the largest executive volunteer participation cross country. They’ve established the United Way Giving Campaign, in which people can elect Youth About Business as the charity of their choice.

Ken Kirshner, an Advisory Board Representative accepted the award and said, “We [Deloitte and Touch] look forward to strengthening the relationship between the organizations in the near future.”

Youth About Business has allowed over 7,000 students to role play in the business world over the years and their 20th year is expected to have a memorable event here in New York. According to Mr. Kirk, the event will be planned by a representative of Moody’s and Terri Austin from McGraw Hill.

“I believe the event was a success. We had to limit the number of participants that could attend due to capacity restrictions at the venue, but I do believe that everyone in attendance had a great opportunity to network, interact with program participants, and come away with a better understanding of the student impact and organizational accomplishments of 2011,” said Mr. Wade.

“Next year is the 20th celebration and will be hosted where the program first started, Nashville, TN.  The 20th year celebration banquet will be open to all supporters, students, alumni, and executives that have EVER participated in the program. Youth About Business is anticipating this being the largest YAB banquet ever! So according to plan, next year’s reception will be much larger,” he continued.

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