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Leadership Conference Teaches Kids About Success

Written by William Cennamo

Irving—Playing sports in school teaches young people several life lessons from being part of a team to dealing with disappointment. However, the reality of becoming a successful professional athlete is slim at best. When the Friday night lights dim, there are a number of opportunities in the sports fields other than being an athlete.

“We want to teach [young men] there are different avenues besides sports,” Thurston Nelson said speaking to a group of young men in the Cimarron Park Recreation Center. “Even in sports there are other things you can do, coaching, trainers, being an executive, not just a player. I can still be in that sport, even if I’m not playing it.”

During the first annual Young Men’s Leadership Conference, groups were led through four workshops on Saturday morning, Nov. 16: dressing for success, health and hygiene, life after sports, and respect for swag. Each workshop was led by speakers from the business world including a sports radio host and the youth services manager of Frisco’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Du’Achmed attended the event with his father, Lawal.

“I’m here to improve myself and learn facts about leadership,” Du’Achmed said.

“I wanted to give him this opportunity,” Lawal said. “These kids are going to be the leaders of tomorrow, so whatever we can do to teach them about leadership is good.”

Health care manager and speaker Brandon Hudson discussed methods for motivating young men in a world filled with distractions.

“I want to ask questions. I want to get them involved,” Hudson said. “Often times, they’re so used to being talked at versus giving them an opportunity to let them talk. I hear what their thoughts are, and then I respond.

“I don’t know everything, I can’t save the world, but I feel like if I can just help somebody, then that’s a start.”

The students learned about alternative avenues of being a successful adult. In between the workshops, the students played motivational games.

“I just want them to know there are different paths and don’t get down on yourself,” organizer Thurston Nelson said. “You think what your parents are saying is just parents talking. But they’re trying to prepare you for life, so when you get out of the house, you don’t get hit with that brick and just collapse. You get hit with the brick and keep going.”