(Bringing Youth on Board)
2019 Conference: APRIL Youth Conference
APRIL hosed the first large-scale gathering of rural youth with disabilities and CILs at the 10th annual APRIL conference in Minneapolis as a preconference. At the 20th Annual Conference youth attendance grew so large they became an official conference rather than a pre-conference. Early support came from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation providing stipends to youth to help cover the costs of attending. We continue outreach today to find support for youth across the country to join us every year no matter where we are. Would you like to support the youth conference? Donate here.
This day long conference is the day before the Annual APRIL Conference. Youth attendees are encouraged to stay for the entire conference, where we have a youth track of workshops throughout along with fun activties such as scavenger hunts to learn about resources and a dance to make and mingle with friends. This youth conference and engaging youth activities throughout the entire conference are planned by youth for youth through our youth steering committee.
Youth Steering Committee The Youth Steering Committee is made up of youth and people that are passionate about young people. An Executive Committee plans, fundraises, recruits, markets, design, coordinate, and run the Youth Conference every year that is held prior to the APRIL annual conference. This growing group of committee young people have taken the Youth Conference from 20 youth to 120 youth and growing. If you are interested in joining us for the planning we meet monthly for phone calls to continue the work.
The team of youth that jumped started the Youth Peer to Peer Mentoring Project also spent some time putting together a collection of materials from around the country. These materials have been a collaborative effort from youth programs from years ago to those that are still inventing some great material today. APRIL has been able to capture that information all in one place so you can use it, modify, add to, and share it within your CIL, organization, or any other programs today. This material is always growing, and we are adding to it every day. If you have material from your CIL that you would like to share such as sample flyers, letters, advertisements, activities, or more please let us know so we can add to the materials. We also encourage you to share how you have modified the activity so we can add to it as well.
Youth Advocacy Committee Youth Advocacy Committee is made up of young people and youth staff members at CILs across the country. They meet monthly to go discuss certain advocacy topics, plan future trainings, share with the group advocacy issues and wins, and opportunities to continue to grow as an advocate.
Peer to Peer Establishing a Youth Peer to Peer Mentoring program where we send young leaders out to help other CILS start, improve, or begin the planning process of including youth into their programs or creating a youth focused program
Youth Talks APRIL understands that across the country the hot topic is youth and young adults. We understand that many Centers for Independent Living and Statewide Independent Living Councils are unsure how to get youth involved. We have asked our youth expert mentors to present on topics that could assist your goals of starting a program or growing the existing youth involvement, you may already have. Every other month we will have one mentor present on a topic that is often discussed in our Youth Peer to Peer Mentoring for a nominal fee. The calls will start with a presentation from the presenter and end with brainstorming of ideas, share experiences, and ask questions while we learn from each other with the guidance of our mentor. We understand that not everyone is at the point in their CIL or SILC to have a peer mentoring, but we want to support and assist the best way we can with these calls.
Youth Leadership: More to Come! APRIL is continually looking for new ways to grow the next generation of IL leaders. One way we are doing this is by creating a Youth Leadership Committee that will work on training initiatives and other ways to support up and coming leaders.
We also have two positions on our Board of Directors designated for youth with disabilities. Contact us to find out how you can get involved as a youth leader.