Rebecca Simler learned to cook from her mother, who started teaching her at the age of six or seven. It didn’t take long for her to start branching out, learning new recipes and techniques, and soon she was cooking meals for friends and family.
“I love how happy I can make people through cooking. When I make food for my friends they’re always so grateful! I think it’s so neat that you can make other people feel love through food,” she says.
Simler’s dream is to open an allergy-friendly restaurant with a program to help feed homeless people, and she’s attending a culinary arts college in the fall. And thanks to a $5000 scholarship from Everett’s Executive Beauty Suites and Youth For Freedom Leadership Camp, she’s one step closer to her goal.
Helping young leaders find their PATH
Youth For Freedom hosts an annual summer camp in Utah, as well as online mentorship and other special events. This was Simler’s sixth year at the camp, which her siblings have also attended.
“YFF is a safe place where you can talk about anything and be accepted no matter what. The simulations are really special — they put you through emotions and experiences that the rest of the world maybe doesn’t let you experience.”
Aubrey Taylor attended the camp herself, before eventually purchasing YFF so other teens could experience the life changing community she discovered. For the last two years, Taylor has invited Everett entrepreneur Laycee Gwyther, founder of Executive Beauty Suites, to speak at the camp and share her extensive leadership and life skills. This year, Gwyther also sponsored the Pathfinder scholarship.
Taylor attended a leadership program where Gwyther was a coach, and the two formed a strong bond. Gwyther travelled to the Youth For Freedom Leadership Camp to be a guest speaker, where her personal story of overcoming challenges and finding success was an inspiration to camp attendees.
“A leader is a path finder. We encouraged our 17- and 18-year-olds to plan for their futures by using our tools, systems and coaches to prepare a detailed PATH to their goal. Each teen had to submit an essay detailing their plans,” Taylor says.
Simler is the inaugural winner of the $5000 prize, and will use the money to help pay for her tuition this fall.
Learn more about Youth For Freedom at youthforfreedom.org.
Executive Beauty Suites empowers new and established entrepreneurs by providing an environment where independent businesses can thrive at 111 SE Everett Mall Way, Building F, Everett. Learn more at exbsuites.com.