Youth Leader Spotlight: Raina Flores

Our Youth Leadership Program is a very important part of Youth Odyssey. We love seeing familiar faces in our programs year after year! Many of those familiar faces grow and mature a lot and we like to challenge these individuals even more. We ask them to step up, help us lead, and be an example by becoming a Youth Leader. They are a fantastic group of kids and we are always proud of them!

So this week, we wanted to highlight one of our Youth Leaders and let you get to know her better!

Raina has been a youth leader for about a year. In the fall she’ll start the 8th grade at Hamlin Middle School. Besides Youth Odyssey, Rania is also involved in National Junior Honor Society, Volleyball, Basketball and the Art Club. She obviously likes to stay busy. She loves volleyball and art so much she’s considering going to college and continuing down one of those paths. When Raina isn’t busy with school or extra-circulars she’s involved in, she likes to read and listen to music. She also likes to play volleyball with her mom and watch Netflix with her family! When she’s not doing that, she can probably be found re-arranging her room or dancing like no one is watching!

This week, I sat down with Raina (virtually) to ask her those burning questions we all have about Youth Odyssey.

Youth Leader Raina dressed up for a dance

Q&A with Youth Leader Raina

Why did you first start attending Youth Odyssey programs?

I first starting to go to Youth Odyssey when my friend and I were walking by and we saw a group of people standing and making shapes with a rope. I got curious so we went to check it out.

What was it like to become a Youth Leader and why do you think you were asked to step up into that role?

Becoming a Youth Leader was a dream come true for me. I had wanted to become one since I had met a few Youth Leaders and I thought to myself sometimes, I could be a Youth Leader. I think I was asked if I wanted to become a Youth Leader because I showed initiative at the program and was very mature and responsible.

What role does Youth Odyssey play in your life?

Youth Odyssey plays a big role in my life. It’s what I look forward to every Thursday during school. Youth Odyssey has helped me grow and become more and more responsible and I would like to give back.

What’s been your favorite part about being involved with Youth Odyssey?

My favorite part would have to be watching and helping kids grow each Thursday at the program.

What kind of things have you gained from Youth Odyssey that you see being useful in the future?

I’ve gotten a lot out of being in Youth Odyssey. I’ve learned more about leadership, teamwork, communication, goal-setting, problem solving and trust and all of those skills will definitely be useful later in life. On top of all that, I’ve gained a lot of camping experience and now I can put up a tent like that (snaps fingers). Me and my mom go camping sometimes and so my Youth Odyssey skills kick in.

What would you say to people out there who aren’t sure if Youth Odyssey methods work to teach kids life skills?

I would say that they do because I’ve seen kids grow with the help of Youth Leaders and staff at Youth Odyssey in just a weekend. I see kids in the hallway that go to Youth Odyssey and I can just see how much they have grown. And I know I have grown too.

What keeps you coming back to Youth Odyssey programs?

First off, Brian because he’s hilarious! But I keep going back because I just LOVE IT! I get to help kids mature and I get to see the progress with them mentally and physically. But also because it’s a place where everybody knows your name and you get to meet new people each week. It helped me have a more open mind and has helped get me out of my comfort zone, especially at the ropes course.

Anything else you want the world to know?

I want the world to know that if you are a parent and you have access to a Youth Odyssey program to put your kid in the program because you and your child will never regret that decision. I never will. Youth Odyssey is a wonderful program that is the highlight of my week during the school year. I just love Youth Odyssey!

Youth Leader Raina and her mom Youth Leader Raina with several other Youth leaders on our most recent spring break tripYouth Leader Raina and Sierra in ArkansasYouth Leader Raina with our Lexington and La Armada Programs at Government Canyon