There wasn't a dry eye in the house when Michael Hamamoto took the podium at the final networking event of the Financial & Insurance Conference Planners Education Forum, held at The Broadmoor in June. Michael, then a high-school senior in Colorado Springs (now at Stanford University) and the winner of the 2008 Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region Youth of the Year Award, spoke of enduring personal hardships that included his mother's struggle with cancer. Through it all, he always kept up hope and believed he could accomplish anything.

Sponsored by the Reader's Digest Foundation, the Youth of the Year Program chooses state, regional, and then a national winner; the top prize is a $15,000 scholarship and a chance to meet the President of the U.S.

At the auction that followed Michael's speech, Forum attendees raised $2,000 for the local charity. In a stroke of genius, the evening's emcee and FICP vice president, education, Kim Boriin, awarded Michael the grand prize, a four-night hotel stay and two round-trip air tickets to Colorado Springs from anywhere in the country. “This way,” Boriin said, “you can use the tickets to get back and forth from college.”

The benefit kicked off with an afternoon of mini-golf where attendees played with other children from the Boys & Girls Club. The group also brought donations of non-perishable food to the Forum, which were placed in 200 backpacks given to the Boys & Girls Club.

This year's FICP Education Forum drew 165 planners and hospitality partners for two days of learning.