The race begins NOW!

We are celebrating our leadership potential all week, but this afternoon we are exercising it in our very own LYS version of the political party system! This is one of our favorite parts of seminar, and it all comes down to the age-old question… pigs or chickens?


Whiggies on this side... Tories on this side!

The LYS political system has two parties, the Whig Party and the Tory Party. As each of the delegates arrived at LYS they were assigned to one of our two political parties. Each staff member also identifies with one of the parties, and two fearless red shirts (that’s an LYS Staff Member in case you were wondering) lead each party. Leading the Whig Party… representing the North Shore area… is Elizabeth Woodard and her assistant Austin Canty! Leading on the Tory side… from the Acadiana Lindsey Hayob and her assistant Sam Giberga!

Over the next few days, delegates will be encouraged to embrace the importance of our freedom of speech and voting, especially considering it’s an election year! Delegates will have the opportunity to run for officer positions in their respective political party. By giving speeches, voting and executing a caucus filled with strategy and a whole lot of fun, delegates get a complete look at the political process. The positions delegates are eligible to run for are: President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, and Party Chairman (who will actually run his/her party’s caucus round!). We’ll be sure to give you updates as the delegates move through the political party process! At the end of the week, the three candidates from each party will go head-to-head, and the delegation will vote on who will be the 2016 LYS President, Vice President, and Secretary/Treasurer.

To help kick off our Political Process on the right note, Donald Cravins will be speaking with the delegation!

"I see the world differently because I attended Louisiana Youth Seminar"  - Don Cravins, Jr.

"I see the world differently because I attended Louisiana Youth Seminar"  - Don Cravins, Jr.

Don Cravins, Jr. serves as the National Urban League’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Executive Director of the Washington Bureau. Cravins leads the development of the National Urban League’s policy, research, and advocacy agenda, while expending the organization’s impact and influence inside the Capital Beltway.

Since 1998, Cravins has been a practicing attorney and a member of the Louisiana Bar Association. In 2004, he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives. At that time, he and his father, State Senator Don Cravins, Sr., made Louisiana history by becoming the first and only father and son to serve in the Louisiana Legislature at the same time. In 2006, Cravins was elected to the Louisiana Senate for the seat vacated by his father. During his tenure in the Louisiana Senate, Cravins was heavily involved in post-Hurricane Katrina issues as the Chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee and was an active member of the Juvenile Justice Commission of Louisiana.

In January of 2009, Cravins left the Louisiana Legislature to serve as Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship where he oversaw the legislative activities of the Committee. In January of 2013, Cravins began serving as Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana.

In addition to his duties at the National Urban League, Cravins is an adjunct professor at George Washington University where he teaches Prosecution and Litigation in Intellectual Property and Constitutional Law. He also serves as a captain in the District of Columbia Army National Guard Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps with the 352nd Legal Operations Detachment.

Cravins is a native of Southwest Louisiana and a graduate of Teurlings Catholic High and Louisiana State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He attended Southern University Law Center where he graduated with honors. He was presented the Southern University Law Center Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015 and named a 2015 LSU Legend by the LSU Black Alumni Chapter.

Don attended LYS in 1988 and 1989 and served as a counselor from 1990-1994. He was an Assistant Program Director in 1995 and served as Program Director in 1996 and 1997. Don has also been named to the LYS Hall of Fame and he serves as a member of the LYS Advisory Committee.

A big thanks to Donald Cravins for stopping by and getting both the Whigs and the Tories pumped up for an action-packed political party process!

The next step in the political party process will be tomorrow morning when we learn about speech writing and delivery.  We cannot wait to hear the inspiring and creative speeches coming from the delegation!