Tree Musketeers youth director, Adam Gerard, had a good excuse for his absence at the local community Arbor Day Celebration and tree planting he co-managed in March. The 17-year-old was otherwise engaged speaking at schools and giving the keynote address at the Youth Leadership Institute during the 2012 KORCOS (Korean Council of Oversees Schools) International Education Conference. The event was hosted by Chadwick International Schools at its campus in Songdo, Incheon, South Korea.
In its 16th year, the conference was designed to bring experts together under the theme of “Inspiring Education” for more than 1,000 teachers and students in attendance. The young Mr. Gerard’s assignment for the trip was to teach both youth and adults about youth empowerment. The speeches, workshops and meetings focused on leadership and environmental activism.
During workshops, each attendee was tasked with structuring their own nonprofit complete with a mission statement, objectives and a logo. Students created organizations that would serve the environment and a variety of other worthy causes. Those present had the chance to reflect on the needs of their communities and to create a plan for themselves and friends to make change.
Perhaps the most meaningful part of this journey was a tree planting on March 10, the very day Tree Musketeers kids and adult supporters were planting trees in El Segundo. So, you see, Adam did not miss out on Arbor Day. He and his new friends on another continent joined in! It was a real life demonstration of something Adam points out frequently, “We can only turn back global warming by working together.” This was the second Asian tree planted under Tree Musketeers’ Partners for the Planet 3×3 Campaign to get 3 million trees planted by 3 million kids worldwide to fight climate change.
The high school junior took opportunity to share a guiding principle that began 25 years ago with the third grade founders of Tree Musketeers, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t change the world. If we all work on our own little parts of the planet, then neighborhood by neighborhood, state by state, nation by nation we will change the world.”
Adam Gerard attends Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach and has been involved with Tree Musketeers since the age of nine. He is a Certified Youth Manager, a trained tree planting supervisor, an awarded public speaker with a Toastmasters Certificate, a member of the organizations Youth Management Team and a Youth Director on its board. As if that were not enough, he is an honors student, serves as President of his school’s Partners for the Planet Club, has interned for members of the State Assembly and Congress, and was appointed by City Council to the Manhattan Beach Green Team.