Almost 100 teenagers from a variety of economic and racial backgrounds in Salt Lake County played together here Friday and Saturday in the sixth annual Multicutural Youth Rally.
Rappelling off a 60-foot tower, a leadership reaction course, a dance, seminars and various sports activities were all part of the two-day activities.The purpose of the rally was to get different teens together and get them to work together, talk and appreciate each other. Some of the events were also designed to build self-esteem.
Courtney Sullivan, a Granite High School senior, came alone to the event, but she left with many new friends and a different perspective.
"I learned some racial games and a lot about trust and respect," she said.
Sullivan plans on taking back a lot of her experiences to her peer leadership class this fall.
Greg Ramirez from West High School also hopes to take what he learned back to his peer leadership class.
"I liked getting to know everybody," he said.
Becky Wooten, a junior at Highland High School, said she came to the rally because a friend said it would be fun.
"I've had a lot of fun. I've met some people I'd never have met otherwise," she said.
Sponsored by the Neighborhood Action Coalition's Youth Advisory Board, the event was planned during the summer by the teenagers themselves.
Michelle Roach, Youth Advisory Board member, hopes the event will lead to less gang activity and promote better cooperation between different races.
Roach and other youth leaders said it was amazing to see how the kids went from being so quiet on the bus coming in to almost best friends by the rally's end.
The rappelling was the climax of the rally. But kids were seen playing such simple games as "Red Rover" and pickup football.
Some 20 adults also volunteered their time to help stage the event, sponsored in part by IHC. Volunteer Hal Ruttinger said the rally helps kids deal with change and learn how to reach out of their comfort zone to others.