WHAT IS ARIZONA YOUTH LEADERSHIP FORUM (AZYLF)?
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. AZYLF believes leadership is a personal journey, and begins with maximizing leadership roles and responsibilities in your own life. AZYLF provides experiential learning opportunities to assist each individual as they identify and embrace their strengths and gifts, in conjunction with planning for their future.
WHO PARTICIPATES IN AZYLF?
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 a place at AZYLF 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 AZYLF that there is diversity in all aspects. Everyone has something to offer, and AZYLF encourages youth to identify and take pride in who they are as a person, and how they choose to establish themselves in the world.
AZYLF is intended to serve youth who have a variety of disabilities and diversities. Therefore, Arizona youth who will have completed at least one year of high school by June, those who have recently graduated, or those who are young adults in transition, are encouraged to apply and will receive selection consideration.
WHAT HAPPENS AT AZYLF?
For each conference, AZYLF brings together up to 25 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 Person Centered Planning, Delegates are assisted in developing a Personal Leadership Plan which includes specific action items, as they return to their home communities. Delegates become a voice for their peers as they serve to inform the Arizona State Plan for Independent Living. Delegates are assigned a mentor for on-going support for one year after AZYLF, and are offered continued connection through joining the thriving AZYLF Alumni Association, following graduation.
Although purposeful and relevant, the true value of AZYLF is not found in a workbook 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. AZYLF invests in our most precious resource, the youth who will transform our tomorrows.
WHY HAVE AZYLF?
Youth who have disabilities have both more opportunities and more challenges than at any other time in our history. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has created unprecedented opportunities for youth to fully develop as positive, contributing members of our society. However, many need encouragement to develop as leaders in their own lives, and in their communities. AZYLF allows youth opportunities to learn from each other and from successful elders who have disabilities. AZYLF not only benefits the Delegates, but all young people, our communities in general, and the elders who assist in producing the conference.
HOW MUCH DOES AZYLF COST?
Participation for Delegates is free of charge. Actual costs are calculated at $1,500 per Delegate, which does not include in-kind goods and services donated by volunteers and supporters.