Smile! Operation Smile’s ISLC is Here!


Are you a natural-born leader? Have you ever had a burning desire to help others in need? Do you want to make hundreds of new friends in the sunny Orange County, California? Then I have just the conference for you! Every year, Operation Smile hosts the International Student Leadership Council (ISLC) to inspire the next generation of young leaders. Operation Smile is an international organization that provides surgery to children in third-world countries suffering from cleft palate, cleft lip, and other facial deformities. The cool thing about Operation Smile is that it holds lots of faith in its young volunteers through their Student Programs. There are tons of benefits, short and long term, of attending this conference, and here are just a few:


USA_2013_ISLC_USA_Team_web A snapshot of all American ISLC 2013 participants in Norfolk Virginia


  1. Make Friends to Last a Lifetime – Although rather big (around 500 participants), you are able to really connect with everybody at the event. The cool thing is that this is an international conference; there are tons of kids from over twenty countries. Experiencing new cultures is one of my favorite parts about the conference, because even though everyone is wildly different, similar passions are shared which makes it almost impossible to not connect with these new friends. Because the participants are broken into small groups, making new friends becomes even easier. Honestly, I have met some of my closest friends to this day at ISLC.


  1. The First Step on a Wild Adventure – With Operation Smile, participating in one ISLC means that you are eligible to apply for mission training. If you have ever wanted to be a change in the world, going on a medical mission is just the way to do it. I was lucky enough to go to Bacolod City, Philippines last June, and the journey would have been impossible without attending my first ISLC. Also, leadership opportunities arise from attending this conference; you are able to be a regional, national, and even international leader within the organization after attending just one ISLC. If you’ve ever had the desire to lead but just didn’t quite know how, this is exactly where to start.


  1. Be Inspired – At ISLC, a variety of speakers come to motivate, inspire, and move you in the direction of your dreams. College professors, music producers, world-circumnavigators, and others all support this event, and speak their words of knowledge to us. It is really incredible to learn from people who have been in our shoes and have done so much with their lives.


islc Me and my friend Maddie having fun during the team games!


With this upcoming conference marking my third consecutive year attending, the ISLC is an important part of my summer. From the competitive team games to the motivational talks to the intimate breakout sessions, there is a place for everyone to shine and find their passion. Without Operation Smile, there is no way I would be the person I am today, and without ISLC, I would not have met some of my best friends to this day. If you would like to register for Operation Smile’s International Student Leadership Conference, head over to


Hope to see you in CALIFORNIA this summer, Smart Girls!


a Several student leaders at last year’s conference in Limerick, Ireland!

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