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TEDYouth Day

TEDYouth 2013

As most of y’all know I recently went to New Orleans to attend TEDYouth with Toyota. I had an absolutely amazing time and can't believe how much I learned! If you missed my first post about working with Toyota then be sure to check it out here. That being said, the TEDYouth conference was incredible. I had the opportunity to listen to some really cool people speak. Including the one and only Ashton Kutcher. Um, can you say cool? So here’s what my day looked like: 8:40 am: Leave hotel and walk to the Civic Theatre. There were a few hundred people at the theatre lucky enough to watch live, but thousands tuned in online (and you can still see everything too: click here) 9:00 am: Meet the other iReporters and eat a quick breakfast. 10:00 am: Try out the Toyota Simulator. I did not even get to test out a distraction because I crashed too early in the game. I need to step up my driving skills apparently :) Look how popular it was - there was a long line to try it.

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It was SO cool. You get in and see what happens when you text and drive, or drink water or change the radio station. And everyone can watch you on the tv monitors. That's ok, they may have blinked when I was in it!

TEDYouth 11:00 am: Listen to the first set of speakers. My favorite was Ron Finley because he showed how you can plant a garden anywhere. Literally, anywhere. Got an old cart, make it a garden. He was so inspiring, and reminded me how much I used to love gardening! 12:30 am: Lunch for the iReporters 12:45 pm: Interview TedYouth attendees about distracted driving. (see below to hear about what I learned! It’s actually pretty interesting) 2:15 pm: Listen to the second set of speakers and was so in awe of McKenna Pope who was annoyed that the Easy Bake Oven was targeting only girls. So she wrote the CEO of Hasbro... and he listened. It just shows what we can do if we see a problem and do something about it. 3:00 pm: Second break. This was also the time where the iReporters and I received some great speaking tips and we figured out what we were going to say on stage. The big stage. The stage in front of 400 people. *stomach butterflies*

TedYouth in New Orleans 3:30 pm: Third session. This was the session that I spoke in during the convention. Ahh. My favorite speaker spoke about elephants and told us how they are similar to us. It was so interesting. And then, Ashton Kutcher took the stage and spoke about how we may make mistakes, but we need to follow our dreams and move forward. Don't let obstacles stand in the way and pursue opportunities when they come along. I'll remember this speech for a long, long time.

TEDYouth speaker Ashton Kutcher 6:00 pm: TEDYouth is over. {so sad} 7:00 pm : My mom and I ate a celebratory dinner at a restaurant called Red Fish Grill and I finally had some fresh, raw oysters. I'd almost forgotten how good they were. 9:00 pm : Fell asleep after a very tiring yet awesome day.

So as I mentioned in the schedule, I was able to interview the attendees about distracted driving. I learned so much about what people think distracts them the most, but I learned two things that have really stayed with me.

The first thing I learned is that kids that don’t drive yet think texting is terrible and that they will absolutely never do it when they get their license. In contrast, people that are at or above the driving age know that texting is one of the worst things they can partake in while driving yet most of them were still guilty of doing it. Crazy, right?

The second thing I discovered is even more interesting. One of the groups of people that I interviewed were a set of tough looking guys. I figured that these guys were going to make a joke about distracted driving and just not take me seriously. However, I could not have been more wrong. Not only were these guys super sweet but they were the only people of driving age that I talked to who said that they never ever text and drive. When I asked them why not, they said that they recently had a friend that got into a terrible accident because he was texting and driving. Then they mumbled something about how their moms would kill them if she found out that they texted and drove.

These guys really got me thinking about how we all think that we are immune to accidents happening to us. We all are guilty of thinking that we live in some kind of protective bubble that will prevent us from getting hurt. We, of course, are wrong and sometimes we need to remember how important it is to practice safe driving habits in order to keep ourselves safe and others on the road. Because driving while distracted really is a selfish act after all!

Again, thanks so much Toyota for allowing me to help y’all out at TEDYouth. I had an absolute blast and learned tons :)

xox ~chloe

This post was written as part of my partnership with Toyota for TeenDrive365