Frequently Asked Questions

AZYLF is an innovative, 5-day regional conference, designed to foster personal growth for students and young adults who have disabilities, as they prepare for and progress through transition to adulthood. Typically occurring in person on a college or university campus, due to public health concerns in 2020, AZYLF will be known as Arizona Virtual Youth Leadership Forum (AVYLF) and will provide the same content and opportunities as AZYLF does, using a host of online tools to achieve the same amazing outcomes. The foundational philosophies and principles remain unchanged, and center around the belief that leadership is a personal journey, that begins with maximizing leadership roles and responsibilities in your own life. AVYLF provides experiential learning opportunities to assist each individual as they identify and embrace their strengths and gifts, in conjunction with planning for their future.

Youth who have disabilities, referred to as Delegates, who demonstrate leadership potential, an interest in embracing and enhancing their lives, and who wish to interact effectively with other youth and elders are a great fit for AZYLF. There is an opportunity for beneficial outcomes for any eligible youth or young adult who wishes to learn, grow, and contribute to the experience. Accommodations are available to maximize access for all. It is essential to the dynamic process of AVYLF that there is diversity in all aspects. Everyone has something to offer, and AVYLF encourages youth to identify and take pride in who they are as a person, and how they choose to establish themselves in the world.

AVYLF is intended to serve youth who have a variety of disabilities and diversities. Therefore, Arizona youth who are currently in high school, those who have recently graduated, or those who are young adults under the age of 30, are encouraged to apply and will receive selection consideration.

For each conference, AVYLF brings together up to 25 youth who have disabilities from across Arizona, for a 5-day experience that focuses on self-discovery, leadership development, career exploration, effective advocacy, and empowers through heightened awareness of disability history and culture. Through Peer-Based Person-Centered Practices, Delegates are assisted in developing a Personal Leadership Plan which includes specific action items, to enhance their lives, and futures. Following graduation from AVYLF, Alumni receive mentoring in regard to their Persona Leadership Plan, and on-going support and connection, through the thriving Arizona Youth Leadership Initiatives (AZYLI) Alumni Association. 

Although purposeful and relevant, the true value of AVYLF is not found in a curriculum, or in the words of an accomplished presenter, it is found in the climate of trust, mutual respect, and absolute acceptance, which allow youth to be themselves, to be heard, and to be changed. Arizona Youth Leadership Initiatives invests in our most precious resource, the youth who are transforming our tomorrows.

Rooted in disability history, and infused with a culture of competence, equity, inclusion, and civil rights, AVYLF offers youth who have disabilities an opportunity to embrace, identify, and celebrate themselves as people who have many diversities, one of which, being disability. Delegates receive vital resources related to available assistance, supports, and services, while expanding their connection to other youth and elders who are productively engaging in the lives they wish to create, and contributing positively to the world, as they so choose. AVYLF not only benefits the Delegates, but all young people, our communities in general, and the elders who assist in cultivating the conference.

Participation is free of charge.