Vol. 11, Issue No. 31/2004

by Dr. Maria Chrypinska
2004 marks the Tenth Anniversary of the American Council for Polish Culture's YOUTH LEADERSHIP CONFERENCES, for students, ages 17 - 26, who are interested in civic and political leadership and making a positive difference as young Polish Americans. To kick off a year of special YLC celebration and renewed vision, a special YLC panel was held during the recent January conference of the Polish American Historical Association (PAHA), in Washington, D.C.  Entitled "The Future is Now!

Integrating Young Leaders into Polonia and Beyond" - this special PAHA session featured YLC Alumni speakers.  The first segment of the panel, entitled "YLC - Bridge to Leadership and Activism", was introduced by YLC Director, Dr. Maria Chrypinska and Agnieszka Gnoinska (YLC '02) - (the latter moved to Washington, D.C. from Minneapolis, as a result of her YLC experience).  They outlined the purposes and impact that the YLC has had in motivating young 'future leaders' to make a positive difference with their own dedication, vision, zeal, knowledge and talents - as Polish Americans in the community around them.

The second part of the YLC PAHA panel focused on the positive fruits of university student groups and Polonia and other community organizations working together for the greater good.  Speaking from their own, already quite extensive, expertise were: Agata Drygas (YLC '01) of' SWS-Chicago; Peter Habrzyk (YLC'99) of PS0-New York; and Darek Wolosz (YLC '01) of Seton Hall Univ. -N.J.  Each of them is a leader in an 'umbrella' organization, which represents a larger network of many regional universities and students. The number of members, active scope and commitment to community involvement and service of each of these student-run organizations, were most impressively represented on the panel by their dedicated and dynamic YLC alumni leaders.

The third and final portion of the YLC panel was entitled, "The Making of Leaders". Featured speakers, who were scheduled, included: Dr. Mark Brzezinski - author, attorney and former White House National Security Council staff; and Rep. Andrew Raczkowski (Ml) - Gulf War veteran, youngest majority whip in Michigan congressional history, and the youngest U.S. Senate candidate in last year's elections. Unfortunately, Rep. Raczkowski who is still on active military duty was called overseas on special assignment, and Dr. Brzezinski, at the last moment, was also unavailable.

Earlier, however, both had expressed their avid support and commendation of the ACPC'S initiative and vision in grooming young 'future leaders', by creating the YLC SSS the only Washington, D.C. based Leadership conference especially for Polish Americans. "The ACPC YOUTH LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE identifies and cultivates the standard-bearers for the future of our community", emphasized Dr. Brzezinski.  Both stressed the vital importance of established and visionary Polonian organizations and individuals, in joining with the ACPC - in supporting and sustaining the ACPC YLC for the next ten years PLUS - and generations beyond - for the renewal and future of Polonia!

Drawing upon his YLC '98 Leadership training, alumni Arthur Orkisz "substituted" for Dr. Brzezinski and Rep. Raczkowski and spoke from his own experiences about the "Making of Leaders".  Like many YLC students, Arthur - born in Poland and raised in the U.S., - was profoundly influenced by his parents' and others' activism and commitment to love of country, family and a better future.  Proudly treasuring both his Polish and American legacies, Arthur aimed to 'give back' also - as a Polish American - via his international studies and Polish student activism at Northwestern University, and his internships on Capitol Hill and Europe. Upon graduation, Arthur had lucrative opportunities in the business world. Yet! The impact, vision and possibilities of the ACPC YLC experience 'dogged' him into remembering that he had yet another kind of opportunity/duty - as a young Polish American. After more than a few years and urgings of YLC Director Dr. Chrypinska, and with the support of his family, Arthur has now moved to Washington, D.C., and is humbly and with firm committment looking to make his place in the future realms of leadership - as a proud and gifted Polish American!

Arthur and the other YLC Alumni - (represented by the YLC PAHA panel speakers) - are showing us in Polonia -- and beyond - that the future is capably in the hands of our young Polish American leaders! Arthur, Agnieszka, Peter, Agata, Derek - and the now over 300 other YLC Alumni deserve our dedicated and sustained support and commitment! They are young, gifted, willing and able 'leaders' who seek to join with us in creating a new and vibrant Polish American century.  For the sake of our Polish and American future - please join us in celebrating and keeping alive the Polish American YOUTH LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE of the American Council for Polish Culture - for the next ten years and Beyond! Via the ACPC YLC - our Future is NOW!

For more information about this summer's Tenth Year ACPC YLC Conference (June 20 - 26) and the YLC ALUMNI REUNION that follows in Washington, D. C. -  and/or to make a tax deductible contribution: please contact YLC Director, Dr. Maria Chrypinska at tel: (734) 782-4917 ; e-mail:
or visit the ACPC website: to download a YLC application.

The deadline is April 25.

Vol. 11, Issue No. 31/2004

The Summit Times

Copyright 2004 by Andrzej M. Salski