maggieBy Magdalen Sullivan, Youth Philanthropy Connect Fellow and member of the Tracy Family Foundation

I’ve only been to Disney once before. The park is a magical place for anyone, but especially a 5-year-old. Leading up to the trip, I couldn’t wait to go on the rides, meet my favorite characters, and see the stories I grew up with come to life in front of me.

Now I’m gearing up for my second trip to the magical kingdom—and I’m just as excited as I was 14 years ago. Instead of rides and characters, however, the things fueling my anticipation have to do with Youth Philanthropy Connect’s (YPC) International Conference. As a YPC fellow, I have access to the detailed process of planning an international youth philanthropy conference, and have even had a hand in organizing it. Through the process, it’s incredible to see all of the awesome sessions and speakers YPC has planned for the weekend.

I am especially excited about the many sessions revolving around social justice issues, and how youth philanthropy can have a hand in combating some of the most prevalent injustices plaguing our lives today. One session, Striking at the Root: Social Justice Philanthropy for the 21st Century with Susan Eaton and Sheryl Seller from Brandeis’ Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy, will talk about the difference between traditional and social justice philanthropy, a distinction I think might be unclear to even experienced youth philanthropists.

10339472_853531647993303_2218381515639300064_oThe conference will also be hosting philanthropists from all over the world, with people traveling from as far away as Africa. An international presence will not only expand our network on a global scale, but will also stand as an example of the global impact youth philanthropy can make. I cannot wait to speak to our guest from Ghana about philanthropic practices overseas, and learn about what issues he tackles with his youth philanthropic work.

The keynote, David Evan Harris from the Institute for the Future, will be leading the session “Generational Projects for Generational Change.” This is probably what I’m most itching to be a part of, for the session will facilitate conversations between participants about social projects they want to tackle, and help outline the goals in the most effective way to bring about large-scale change. Hearing about the session, what struck me most was the practicality that will be used to tackle what could once have been seen as impractical goals. I’m excited to hear the ideas and passions of my peers, and to see their ideas turn into plans of implementation.

10386320_803478672998601_662933433033989957_nIt would be a lie to say I’m not also thinking about the park and all of the fun it has to offer. The World of Color lights and water show itself would make the flight from Boston entirely worth it. Add in the rest of the park, dinner in downtown Disney, and doing all of it with my fellow youth philanthropists, and my patience for July 7th to come wears even thinner.

I’m returning to the Disney park under different pretenses than when I was 5 years old. When I fly to California this summer, however, I know I won’t be able to shake that once-childish feeling that magic is about to happen.

Join us in Anaheim this July and experience the magic yourself! Click here to learn more information about hotels, prices, and activities, and register today!

YPC Fellows Magdalen (pictured holding the “C” in YPC) is a sophomore at Boston College and has been on the YPC Team for the past year. She has been engaged in philanthropic work with her family foundation since she was 5 years old. She looks forward to meeting you and hearing your story with philanthropy this summer in Anaheim!

About Youth Philanthropy Connect

Youth Philanthropy Connect (YPC), a special project of the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation, is a youth-led, new and exciting way for youth involved in philanthropic work to connect and learn through a peer network. YPC connects youth engaged in philanthropy with their peers and colleagues, and provides educational programs and peer networks that advance youth involvement in philanthropy and develop the personal and professional skills of the next generation philanthropic leaders.  Learn more