West Virginia Snowflake Conference

Youth team from two West Virginia communities who attended the 2020 National Healthy Living Summit planned and coordinated a conference (Snowflake Conference) to address mental health as a health inequity in their communities.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions on events and gatherings, youth pivoted their planning and logistics to a virtual platform. On October 10, 2020, 19 youth and 11 adults attended the Snowflake conference to address mental health as a health disparity in their communities. Youth participants agreed that as a result of successfully implementing this conference, they are confident in their abilities to plan and execute an idea to drive community change.

The impact of this conference is demonstrated in opportunities youth participants see for disseminating the project as a pilot or small-scale model for collaborative leadership and placed-based change for rural communities. Three counties have expressed interest in replicating this concept in their communities and ideas generated by this youth-led virtual conference have inspired state-level Extension committees on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging to begin making plans for a similar youth-led statewide summit.