Motivational speaker Derrick Watkins had Angel Rivera laughing his head off.
Angel, 13, was on top of a York Revolution dugout in Sovereign Bank Stadium was dancing with about a dozen other seventh-graders from around York County as they all tried to "shake off bullies."
Watkins, a New Jersey resident, was teaching them how to step away from a situation, a life lesson his mother told him. Watkins said his mother told him to shake it off - and he did a little butt-wiggling dance for emphasis.
Angel, who cracked up at the effort as he and the other boys tried the moves, was one of more than 1,200 students at the YMCA of York County's Young Men's Leadership Conference.
The conference, now in its second year, is aimed at anti-bullying with students at a critical point in their development."Even in seventh grade, they can start taking steps to be the leader they can be," said YMCA youth development director Matt Doran.
Angel, a New Hope Academy student, said when he attended Lincoln Elementary charter school, he had to tell classmates not to bully a friend of his.
"It's not good to bully," Angel said.
In addition to Watkins, the boys got a dose of role models with York College's Students in Free Enterprise group. The male college students did silly skits to set examples of how guys should act, from dealing with a bully to approaching a girl with respect.
Serious consequences: Watkins told students in both the morning and afternoon sessions bullying can have dire consequences, as some students nationwide have committed suicide because of what's been done to them.
Watkins also pointed out life isn't better for those who bully or get into trouble. Watkins said the guys he grew up with mostly got in gangs, used drugs or bullied others.
"They ended up in a jail or in a cemetery," Watkins said.
YMCA of York County reminded the boys that all seventh graders can get free membership as a way to keep them in a healthy, safe environment.
Going to the YMCA and getting off the streets "was probably one of the most important decisions I ever made," Watkins said.
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