Arizona Youth Leadership Forum (AZYLF)

The Arizona Youth Leadership Forum (AZYLF) is facilitated by Diverse Ability Incorporated, in partnership with the AZYLI Alumni Association, and is funded in part by Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration, and Arizona Statewide Independent Living Council.

Arizona Youth Leadership Forum (AZYLF) is an innovative, multi-day conference, held in multiple regions of Arizona each summer. AZYLF is absolutely free for the youth who are selected, who are referred to as Delegates. This year, AZYLF Regional Conferences will be held online via Zoom, where Delegates can participate from the safety and comfort of their own homes. Actual costs are calculated at $1,850 per Delegate, which does not include in-kind goods and services donated by volunteer supporters. Up to 25 youth from across Arizona are selected to participate in each AZYLF conference, through a competitive application process. The AZYLF conference successfully integrates youth who represent the diversity of disability and culture in Arizona.

Central June 7-12, 2021 Gila, Maricopa, Pinal
Southern June 14-19,2021 Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima,
Santa Cruz
Northwestern June 21-27, 2021 Mohave, Yavapai
Northeastern June 21-27, 2021 Apache, Coconino, Navajo
Western July 10-15, 2021 LaPaz, Yuma

Following the regional AZYLF conferences, Graduates from each region are elected to participate in the Arizona Youth Leadership Initiatives (AZYLI) Statewide Capacity Building Conference, which provides more robust experiences related to personal enrichment, health and wellness, and the development of critical pre-employment skills. Participants also complete Arizona Youth Engagement Academy (AZYEA), during the AZYLI Statewide Capacity Building Conference, helping them to gain the skills and confidence they need to provide peer-based, training, navigation, and support to others in their home communities.

During AZYLF, Delegates participate in a dynamic experience that focuses on self-discovery, leadership development, career exploration, effective advocacy, and empowerment through heightened awareness of disability history and culture. Through Person Centered Planning, Delegates are assisted in developing a Personal Leadership Plan which includes specific action items they choose to address as they navigate their futures. Delegates become a catalyst for their peers in informing the Arizona State Plan for Independent Living, and receive ongoing connection and peer support through the thriving AZYLI Alumni Association, after graduating from AZYLF.

Delegates are assigned to Teams for completion of self-discovery activities to provide consistency throughout. These Teams are led by a diverse group, 100% of whom are people who have disabilities, and approximately 90% are AZYLF graduates, who come back, to give back!

Presentations by a variety of community leaders, advocates, and numerous other role models who have disabilities, are in integral component of AZYLF. Each presentation highlights an area of impact for youth as they transition to adulthood. AZYLF also offers experiential activities, engagement in service to others, and a Graduation Celebration.

Peer relationships, improved self-confidence, positive perspective of disability, personal direction, and future aspirations are all outcomes for Delegates who approach the process with an open mind and heart. AZYLF provides a dynamic, comfortable, and confidential environment for youth to learn, grow, and teach others.