"Empowering Young Leaders for the 21st Century"
The YLF-VA program seeks to empower young people with disabilities to further develop their leadership skills. Students, serving as Delegates from communities throughout Virginia, participate in a wide range of activities and learning experiences during the four day Youth Leadership Forum set on a university campus.
The YLF curriculum includes training and development of individual career and life-goals, leadership skills, social skills, and self-esteem. Delegates benefit from sharing the experience of an energetic and socially enriched environment with other delegates, distinguished guests, mentors, and highly motivated volunteer staff.
Small Working Groups to explore and develop self-awareness profiles, personal leadership goals, career and academic plans.
Diverse Activities including educational, social, artistic, athletic and recreational events that demonstrate to young people the joy of leading a well-rounded life.
Guest Speakers and Faculty that address issues such as disability rights laws, innovations in technology, use of assistive technology, employment opportunities, community volunteerism, advocacy and legislative opportunities in the Commonwealth.
Interaction with Guest speakers and staff-people with disabilities from the private and public sector who have successful careers and/or businesses and who have maximized their talents and serve as role models.
Field trip to the State Capitol that provides an opportunity to interact with high-level elected officials in Virginia's state government.
Eligibility, Recruitment, and Selection of Student Delegates:
Eligible candidates include rising high school juniors and seniors from Virginia who have a disability, are highly motivated, and have demonstrated leadership potential.
Student Delegates are recruited statewide through a competitive application and interview process. Application requirements include written references and in-person interviews. Recruitment strategies incorporate criteria into the student selection process that, while being competitive, enable students to attend the Forum who might otherwise not have the opportunity for leadership development and who demonstrate potential and desire to become future leaders. Recruitment and selection strategies include procedures and outreach that demonstrate full commitment to including students with developmental disabilities as well as other disabilities.
The YLF depends on a committed network of volunteers. The volunteers are involved in all aspects of assuring a successful experience for the Delegates including planning and preparation, delegate recruitment and selection, fundraising, serving as YLF staff, speakers, panel members, mentors, or dorm parents, and assisting with travel and logistics. Volunteers come from a variety of diverse areas including directly from the community, service agencies and organizations, YLF Delegate Alumni, Partners in Policymaking Alumni and other organizations.
Applications & Forms
An application to participate as a student Delegate to the Youth Leadership Forum may be submitted by e-mail, by fax, by U.S. Mail, or by direct delivery. Information on how to complete and submit the application in each of these ways is included in their instructions. Electronic submission by e-mail is preferred.