The second annual Young Latino Leadership Summit took place at the Caribe Royale resort in Orlando, Florida. The large, yet close-knit group of Latinos traveling from around the country eagerly anticipated the reunion with their compadres. Some flew, some drove, and others took buses, but there was one thing they all had in common: nothing would stop these determined, young, conservative activists from attending the 2016 Young Latino Leadership Summit.
Upon arrival, the atmosphere at the resort was vibrant and full of possibilities. Located in-between the four towers, filled with cheerful guests, was a tropical playground that included a magnificent pool and a winding 75-foot waterslide that could make anybody feel like a kid again. The resort was almost magical and the possibilities were endless.
The attendees arrived that beautiful Sunday afternoon with what seemed to be permanent smiles on their faces. It wasn’t long after checking in when the pumped-up activists changed into their swimming suits and made their way poolside for an afternoon full of catching up with old friends and soaking up the toasty Florida sun.
When it was time to escape the hot July sun, guests often found themselves toning their abs at the impressive two-story fitness center or perhaps napping under a cascading waterfall.
Needless to say, the venue was a special place to host the Young Latino Leadership Summit. But, it wasn’t the best part of the conference.
Following an eventful day, the Latino activists woke up bright and early on Monday morning and lined up outside the Martinique Ballroom excited to engage with a lineup of prominent speakers scheduled for the week.
The days went by fast, but the young activist’s minds moved faster as they soaked up every bit of information the enlightened speakers offered.
The speakers ranged from the captivating Charlie Kirk to the Florida Lt. Governor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera and even included the former congressman and conservative talk radio host, Joe Walsh. Attendees like Emmanuel Espinosa and Priscilla Pacheco described their experience with the speakers as energetic, interactive, and “easy to listen to.”
Each day there was a tasty lunch scheduled that seemed to get better as the days went on. The first day we enjoyed a baked lasagna dish followed by a rich chocolate truffle cake. The next day, hotel staff surprised us with Caribbean chicken with succulent key lime pie to top it off. On the last day, we were treated with a filling dish of orechiette and a moist snickers cheesecake for dessert!
By the time the conference was over, the refreshingly-empowered group of young activists left the Sunshine State inspired, organized, and ready to spread the message that #BigGovSucks.
But, in all honesty, the description of my experience doesn’t do it justice. The 2016 Young Latino Leadership Summit can best be described by the two members of the Latino Caucus who were there right in the middle of it all: Justin Carrizales and Britney Lopez.
Britney Lopez describes her experience:
“My favorite characteristic about Turning Point USA is the inclusiveness they provide as an organization. No matter what background you’re from, Turning Point USA can refer you to resources that allow you to do better in activism and help you achieve your political endeavors.”
She elaborated on the opportunities Turning Point USA has provided her by saying:
“[They] have connected me with a lot of cool conservative Latino activists that I now call my best friends. Together, we have been spreading the message of limited government and have been able to make a difference in our community.”
Justin Carrizales, the former mayor of the Latino Caucus said:
“My experience was nothing short of exactly what I wanted it to be in a city far from home with people I love. Not only did I make a few more connections with others I hadn’t known, but I made closer connections with those I knew already. The bond that has been formed between others and myself has never been stronger and continues to grow … I’ve never met a more fun or greater group of people to spend time with and get to know.”
The picture above is a perfect representation of the bond formed by our Turning Point USA activists. No matter how far apart life takes them, they will return in 2017 and it will be like they never left. As I like to say, “all roads lead home during the annual Young Latino Leadership Summit.”