Hundreds attend first annual Youth Summit

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, May 16, 2023

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On Saturday, Lafayette Square in downtown LaGrange was filled with families from all around LaGrange and Troup County as the city hosted the first of what it hopes to be an annual event with its Youth Summit 2023.

One of the event’s organizers, Councilman Leon Childs, was overwhelmed by the success of the event, particularly with the short timeframe they had to plan it. He said they had a little over three weeks to plan the event.

Childs was also particularly proud of the diversity of the crowd that attended the event.

“I’m at a loss for words. The whole community was there from every side of town, Black, White, Latino, Korean. Everybody was there with their children,” Childs said.

At least 300 people attended the event Childs said, judging from the food consumed. Childs said he was responsible for furnishing the refreshments. He said he started with 550 hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks and ended up needing to go get another 400.

“There had to be at least 300 to 500 people there because I put out close to 1,000 refreshments,” Childs said.

The councilman said the event accomplished what they wanted to do, which was to provide families with information on summer programs for kids.

“We gave out information two weeks before they get out of school, so now kids have information, and they know what initiatives and programs that are going to be for them this summer,” Childs said, noting it was also a fun event to unite the community.

“It was not only resourceful for the community, but we also had a chance to come together, chat, talk and just have a good time,” he said.

In addition to the food, there was tons of fun to be had with games, music and giveaways. Childs said they gave away 35 gift cards as well as $500 to a parent that had recently lost a child to gun violence. A balloon release was also held in recognition of parents who have lost a child.

Mayor Willie Edmondson helped fund and organize the event. He praised Childs for his efforts in helping put the event together.

“It was a success, and I hope it showed the children that we care about them,” Edmondson said. “Mr. Childs did a wonderful job putting it together.”

The event was sponsored by the City of LaGrange, the Economic Development Authority, Mayor Edmondson, A&W Tax Services, the Troup County School System, Looking Good, Teens R Us, AGCAO, Councilman Jimmy McCamey and Rhodes Sports Bar.

“I think it’ll grow to be even bigger next year. This was our first year. We only had three weeks to plan for it, but just imagine what it’s going to be like having up to a year to plan,” Childs said.

He said they are already thinking about next year, saying it might end up moving to Sweetland Amphitheatre. He noted one of the hiccups for the event was the lack of public restrooms.