Name: Tristen Henry Jacob Cantin
From: Hampton, Virginia
Grade: School in Summer of 2016 and forward
School: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univerisity
The area of volunteer that I have done is Youth Leadership. The
organization in which I participated in was the Hampton Youth
Commission (HYC). The commission is comprised solely of 20-30 high
school students with one mission. To be the voice of Hampton,
Virginia’s youth. HYC meetings happen every Monday of the month
unless it is a holiday or school is out, then it is moved to another
day. We typically meet 4-6 hours out of a week expect for once every
month, there is an extra meeting maker it 8-12 hours, 26-30 per
month, and 500 out of the year because during the summer, we meet for
training for the upcoming year.
Any organization in Hampton can come to the commission and ask us our
thoughts on a proposition. Our job is to then go around to schools
and communities and ask our fellow peers what their thoughts are on
the subject and report it. While it sounds like an easy concept, it
is harder than it seems to get information from young people because
most of them do not care to pay attention or have certain circles
they to stay in, therefore, we have to still find out their opinion
on the construction of another theatre or a park.
During my time with the commission, I became the chair and with that title,
I learned what it is like to speak in public more since we have to
present in front of the companies and the commission our feedback.
Thanks to the commission, I have grown when it comes to comfort
levels and am not uncomfortable speaking in front of people. I am
currently studying to become an Aerospace Engineer. As an engineer, I
have to be a leader and HYC has shown me in more ways than one on how
to be a leader for my peers. Then, thanks to my presenting in front
of large crowds, I can be an even better leader.
To me, “forward looking” is being able to see the future come
together as you work on a project. HYC has given the youth of Hampton
the opportunity to speak their mind to companies and city council on
design propositions and blueprints. We give the youth the chance to
help innovate the community. One of our supervisor’s, Johnathan,
used to be a commission when the HYC was formed during the late 90s.
At that time, they were designing a project called the Teen Center.
Today, the building stands and is a large portion of where teens go
During our meetings, we would consistently talk about how there were not
many cheap activities for students to do without spending $20 at a
time a night. While it may not seem like much, it is for a high
school student and a college student. We are constantly looking to
find more activities for youth to do in Hampton and thanks to the
organization I once was a part of, it is possible.