Transcript of NCSET teleconference call held on July 31, 2003
Youth Leadership Forum (YLF): Developing Leadership
Skills in Youth with Disabilities
Michael Beers, YLF Delegate for Montana
Alicia Epstein, Policy Advisor for the Office
of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Department of Labor
June Hermanson, YLF Project Coordinator for Montana
Angeline Pinckard, Alabama YLF Coordinator, Alabama
Governor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities,
Department of Rehabilitation Services
Jessica Wells, YLF Delegate for Montana
MS. SOCHA: My name is Julia Socha and I work with the Youth and
Family Participation Network at the National Center on Secondary
Education and Transition at the University of Minnesota. On behalf
of our center, I’d like to welcome all of you to this month’s
Today’s topic for the teleconference call is Youth Leadership
Forum (YLF): Developing Leadership Skills in Youth with Disabilities.
And we’re very lucky today to have guest speakers with us
who are coordinators of their state’s YLF and have very unique
viewpoints on coordinating YLF’s which are wonderful local
opportunities for youth to build leadership skills and also skills
to plan for the future through the development of state youth leadership
We have Alicia Epstein, Policy Advisor for the Office of Disability
Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Department of Labor. We also have
June Hermanson, YLF Project Coordinator for Montana, Jessica Wells,
and Michael Beers who are delegates of their states YLF which is
in Montana. And hopefully, we’ll have Angeline Pinckard joining
us along with some of her state’s delegates. That might occur
later on in the call so just be aware of that.
And basically, just so people know the format of today’s
call, we’re going to go through it now. We’ll start
with Alicia Epstein. Alicia is going to be providing us with a little
bit of history on Youth Leadership Forums from a national and local
perspective. And then June Hermanson, Jessica Wells, and Michael
Beers will go through how they coordinate their state’s YLF.
Then we’ll move on to Angeline Pinckard and as I mentioned,
hopefully she’ll be joining us. And then after the final presentation
of the teleconference, we’ll open it up for any questions
that any of the participants might have at that time. And then just
at the end of the call, I’ll give you some information about
related information on this topic.
MS. EPSTEIN: Good afternoon everyone. Before I
start, I just want to let you know that I’m using a sign language
interpreter. So during your questions, please identify your name.
That will help the interpreter figure out who’s talking and
I’m very happy to be on this call today and talk about a
wonderful youth leadership program, the YLF. I’m just going
to give you some brief background information on YLF. In 1992, the
California Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities
got started. And then that program sort of grew and became widely
recognized from the California state perspective. And then the group
who planted that wanted to open up a nationwide program. And so
they contacted the former President’s Committee on the Employment
of People with Disabilities. In 1998, the former President’s
Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities began an
effort to have the program replicated nationwide. Currently, we
have 28 states participating in the program. Over 1,000 high school
students with disabilities attended Youth Leadership Forum.
What makes YLF really spectacular is really the uniqueness of the
focus of our program on the high school students with disabilities.
It is a four or five [Day] event taken on at the state level in
the state capital. And the delegates are encouraged to have independent
experiences, [where the delegates stay at a college dormitory] socialization
opportunities, opportunities for career development. The program
is based on four core elements philosophy.
The four elements are:
- Targets students during their last two years of secondary education
- Restricted to youth with disabilities
- Presenters for the on-site modules are successful adults with
- Core curriculum includes several basic modules
Now the way that the program is set up, it’s done on a state
level, through state’s individual organizations for example,
independent living centers or government’s committee on employment
of people with disabilities, the developmental disability counsel
or through the Workforce Investment Act.
Besides the California model, states develop their own program activities.
For example, some states develop outdoor activities such as Discovery
activity where the delegates participate in roping courses and team
building activities. Other states came up with a mock debate where
delegates engage in debates on controversial issues concerning their
Another important part is the mentoring component of this project.
A mentor luncheon is held where the delegate is matched with a mentor
and so forth. During the week, the delegates will work on their
leadership development plans. This is an opportunity for the delegates
to develop their personal leadership goals. The plan encourages
the delegates to explore opportunities for them to become involve
in their community. They also work on their postsecondary education
plan where they explore options for going to college, vocational
training and employment opportunities.
Now here at ODEP, my role is to provide technical assistance to
all of the states, such as telephone conferencing, the monthly conferences
to just help them through, possibly E-mail, answer their questions
and so forth. And also work with the National Youth Leadership Network,
which is another organization that promotes youth and adults with
disabilities working from a national level. So I’d like to
give it over to June now.
MS. HERMANSON: My name is June Hermanson and I’m a Project
Coordinator at the Montana Center on Disabilities at the Montana
State University Billings Campus. I learned of the YLF five-and-a-half
years ago while serving on our State Independent Living Council.
It took approximately a year-and-a-half to plan, fundraise, and
develop the first forum. Our first forum took place in July of 2000
and last week, we just completed our fourth leadership forum.
Some of the greatest successes that we’ve had are just the
opportunities that youth have had to participate in. We’ve
had a number of youth that had opportunities, and they’ve
been able to take advantage of those opportunities. And just some
of the outcomes. In the three years that we have – we don’t
have this years numbers in here, but the first three years of our
program, 13 of the delegates have gone on to college, six are employed.
Sixteen just graduated from high school. We’re unable to locate
10 of the delegates. And 17 different delegates that have attended
the forum have had the opportunity to make presentations at a community,
state, or national level. So the delegates have had a wide variety
Of course the greatest challenge in setting up a program like
this is fundraising. We have entered into partnerships with public
and private entities from Kiwanis clubs to exchange clubs. We make
presentations to those groups. Our Office of Public Instruction
is instrumental. The Montana Center on Disabilities is, needless
to say, the primary funding source for the project. Because one
of the biggest challenges with youth with disabilities is the medical
component and making sure you have a solid medical partner that
provides medical services is crucial. We’ve been very fortunate
to enter a partnership with a local hospital here in Billings. And
they have - they provide medical equipment, those types of things
all free of charge to us. And they have a doctor available should
Some of the auxiliary types of services that you need for a forum
are one of the most important set of partnerships that you can develop.
But once they’re developed, and once you get your forum going,
you’re able to be able to keep that – those partnerships
in place from year-to-year and that helps a lot. You don’t
have to keep recreating.
Our planning of our YLF is done through a state-wide advisory council.
Montana is vast in geographical space, getting together regularly
is virtually impossible and financially not feasible. We do monthly
conference calls. One thing unique to the Montana Youth Leadership
Forum is that we elect a leadership team at each forum. Delegates
decide that they’re going to run. They file and they campaign.
And the winners are announced. That leadership team then is part
of the advisory council and they get part of the responsibility
for helping form what the next forum will be like. So that we’ve
always got youth as one of the major emphasis as far as input goes.
So that’s a little bit about our forum. But I want to pass
it on. We have two former delegates or alumni I should say on the
call today: Michael Beers from Missoula, Montana, and Jessica Wells
from Hamilton, Montana. And I’d like them to talk a little
bit, so Jessica, why don’t you kick it off. And then Michael
if you would follow her, please.
MS. WELLS: My – when I was a delegate in my life it’s
– it was the first thing I had ever done where I went in to
a place where there was a whole bunch of people – other people
with disabilities. And it opened my eyes to see that other people
have challenges like I have challenges. And it also gave me a sense
of belonging, that I had a place where I actually kind of fit in
a little bit.
And the speakers were always full of information and they answered
your questions. And YLF was fund and entertaining and it was also
informational. OK. That’s pretty much all I have to say about
YLF, other than that it was a really good experience.
MS. SOCHA: Thank you very much. Michael if you want to go ahead.
MR. BEERS: Yes, a lot of the things – going on in my life.
In 2001, when I went, when I signed up, and when I showed up I really
didn’t know what to expect. And I had no idea it would turn
out as wonderful as it did. But it really gave me an opportunity
to, like Jessica said, be around other people with disabilities.
Because like – especially my peers, because in the high school
normally, you know, there are few people with disabilities. And
maybe you don’t necessarily, you know, hang out with those
But being at YLF for a week was the first time I had had an opportunity
to spend an entire week surrounded by people my own age that had
many different disabilities. But there’s a common thread that
we all share, and a common experience, and struggles and things
like that. And it really gave me an opportunity to learn from the
delegates; kind of share and talk about what each of us had been
through. It also gave me a great opportunity to listen to the speakers
and I went to YLF right after I graduated. So I was right in the
middle of that transition. Listening to some of the speakers from
Social Security and just other people really helped give me a lot
of resources to help me out making that transition. And it really
educated a lot.
It also opened my eyes to disability as a culture, and as a movement.
I had no idea that there was a larger movement or a history. And
it really gave me an appreciation for the people that had –
the people that had come before me and have given me – paved
the road so that I can have an education and so that I can enjoy
the quality of life I do today.
And it also gave me with that education, kind of a responsibility
to maybe continue that and see how far I can go with that. And it
really opened the doors to a lot of opportunities in the last two
or three years that have gone through my life. I’ve come back
both years in 2002 and 2003 as staff. And I’ve learned every
year. Every time I go back I learn more from the delegates, from
the staff, and from everybody. Even hearing the same presenters
three years I’ve gotten something different out of it every
In my first year coming out of it, I mean I went in there really
unsure and not real confident in myself and what I could do. But
just in that week, I came out, feeling like I could do anything.
And there wasn’t anything that I couldn’t do. And I
became so close with the delegates in the staff in that week and
really bonded and I still keep in touch with a lot of them. So it
really gave me an opportunity to further my education as well as,
make a lot of friends that I’m sure I’ll have for a
MS. SOCHA: Wonderful, thank you very much, Michael and Jessica.
You participation in this call is very critical. And we’re
very grateful to have you. I think now we’re going to move
along to Angeline Pinckard who is going to make her presentation.
And then also, I understand she also has some delegates with her
on the phone that have graciously joined us for this call despite
their challenges of phone problems and weather. So I think we’ll
go ahead with that. Angeline, are you on the line?
MS. PINCKARD: We have enjoyed having our YLF conference, our YLF
forum for the past five years. And we feel like it’s been
very successful. We’ve had as many as 30 delegates at a conference,
and as few as 19. We’ve pretty much followed the same track
as the California forum design. And our goal has been to build self
esteem among the YLF delegates, to provide an opportunity for delegates
to meet other students with disabilities, to encourage the delegates
to investigate what their rights are, and to learn to stand up for
their rights in school and in the community.
We also found that it’s very important to introduce the history
of the disability movement to the delegates because many of them
don’t know about it. And many of them feel – find a
connection with that organization and with that movement. We also
encourage our delegates to participate with other participants in
the school and the community. But one thing that we like about our
program is that it’s more of a three part program, training
program as opposed to just for the delegates. Of course, the main
focus is for the delegates, the high school students that come in
for the Youth Leadership Forum.
The second prong to that is that instead of using volunteer adult
staff, we use college students since we are on the Troy State University
Campus. Our staff consists mostly of young people that are getting
degrees in social work, in special education, and vocational rehabilitation.
So knowing that they are going to be working with young adults with
disabilities and adults with disabilities, we felt like this was
a good training program for them too. And that has proved to be
so. The college students have been very appreciative in what they
have learned from being a staff member.
Also, the third prong is that we invite alumni to come back as
staff. And we feel like that’s a second level of education
for the staff. They have to stay a year out of YLF. So they’ve
been a delegate and alumni for one year. And then they can come
back as staff. And it’s interesting to see the changes in
the delegates when they come back as staff members.
Currently, we have about five staff members that continue to come
back year-after-year-after-year as alumni as staff. They just seem
to have taken on the YLF as their own lifetime project to be role
models for the new delegates that are coming in. And they continue
to realize that they have learned new facets of themselves every
year when they come back as staff members too.
Our delegates, as I said, they range from 25 to 30 delegates every
year. Some recommendations that I would make to the other states
would be when you’re starting your organization to be sure
that all of the key players are on your planning committee. Really
look at who the key players are. It might be your financial institutions.
It may be, for example, we have a very strong involvement with the
vocational/rehabilitation department in our state and the transition
program under vocational rehab. We have a strong connection with
the school. We have a strong connection with our Workforce Investment
Act. In fact, that’s where we get our funding from. And the
Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. We suggest that
you really think about who your key players are and put them on
the planning committee.
Some of the support that we have – that we’re suggesting
to keep the YLF running is, of course, that the key players on your
planning committee and the enthusiasm that is built in the planning
committee, year-after-year, when you see the advantages for our
delegates and what the young people say have benefited them in attending
the YLF. Not only that, but the parents too can tell you about changing
into young adults. And we hear from teachers and school systems
about for example, the students are learning to standup for themselves.
They’ll participate in their own IEP and not let parents and
teachers do it for them all of them time.
Some of the successes and challenges, this is too many to enumerate
here. But some of the things I’d like to talk about is that
the delegates seem to appreciate learning about other disabilities.
And the feeling that they come away from this program with from
the fact that they are not the only one with their kind of disability.
And that they belong to a unique different group of people. I’m
going to let Jennifer talk some more about that.
Many of these young people have come to the forum not understanding
that they can be independent and live on their own or go to college
on their own. And they find that they have more independence and
they can do more things for themselves than they thought. And also
we see that they’re beginning to cut their apron strings from
the parents. As I think so many of you know, parents sometimes are
the ones that keep their children from becoming independent. And
we’re finding that this is a good program for parents as well
as the delegates.
We have had also a spin-off program from the Youth Leadership Forum
and it is called transition weekend. This transition weekend is
based on the same kind of schedule from YLF and meets at Florida
State University for a weekend just like YLF does. Transition weekend
is focused specifically for students with visual impairment, students
who are blind or visually impaired and their parents. YLF does not
invite parents, but transition weekend has a segment of the program
for parents. And that has been very successful too.
Some of the challenges that we have had recently are meeting all
of the requirements that are found in the grants under the Workforce
Investment Act. Some of the things that we have to put together
for delegates in order to meet their requirements - that’s
one of our big problems.
And we’ve had difficulty tracking the students after the
YLF is over. But we will be hiring someone in the staff position
this coming year to do that for us. For recruitment of our delegates
we contact special education supervisors, school counselors, all
of the transition coordinators within the school and the vocational
rehabilitation. We contact the disability groups in the state, the
independent living centers. And we’ve particularly worked
with the children’s rehabilitation services program in the
state of Alabama. And we contact alumni if they know other students
with disabilities in their area; we encourage them to pass on applications
We’re pleased to say that the delegates once they become
alumni had been referred to the children’s rehabilitation
services youth advocacy council as memberships on those councils.
And they have been very successful at that. And we plan to be referring
our delegates to the Workforce Investment Youth Council for their
participation in that too.
I’m going to turn the phone over now to – remember,
we’re speaking on a cell phone. So everybody can’t hear
what’s going on. I’m going to turn the phone over to
our alumni Jennifer Thomas. She was a delegate two years ago. She
came back this past year as a staff member. And she’s currently
working for Children’s Rehabilitation Services. Here’s
MS. THOMAS: OK. Well again, my name is Jennifer Thomas. And I was
a delegate of YLF in 2001. After – well when I first came
to YLF I was very nervous. You know, I didn’t know exactly
what to expect. And like many of the other delegates it was my first
time away from home. Never had I been away from home, out of the
city alone by myself. And when I go there, everyone was just too
friendly, the staff was so inviting. And everyone made it possible
to the point where delegates didn’t have to feel like they
were dependent. Everything that we needed done was done. If we couldn’t
do it they’re saying I’ll help you, let me get that
for you, let me help you with this. But they didn’t push themselves
on us either.
After a couple of days of being there, I started to adjust a little
bit more. And we were broken down into the group. So I noticed that
the group I was in we began to learn a lot more. And everyone began
to open up and to speak out about their various concerns. And when
I first went to YLF there were a lot of things that I didn’t
know that I learned about later such as the introduction that was
given to the – about the disability movement. After hearing
that, I no longer claim the title of being handicapped because I
learned the entomology of the word. And I felt that that was a very
important factor of YLF because that was something that I didn’t
know or I wasn’t aware of that.
Also I believe that after attending YLF and after the group began
to bond separately and being together it kind of made us realize
that we were all a part of this disabled community. And it made
us realize the necessity for us to band together and to stand together
on a lot of issues because of that. You know, if we don’t
help each other out, our own issues would never be voiced or we
would never gain the things that we wanted.
YLF also provided me with skills that I needed to basically handle
business such as obtaining modifications in schools. As I entered
YLF I had just graduated high school and I was about to make a transition
into college. There were a lot of things I didn’t know such
as how you actually go about getting your accommodation or who to
contact and what things to say. And by attending YLF, I sort of
learned a little bit more about, you know, how to become an advocate
for myself and how to be assertive. And I think those were all very
important elements of the program.
After attending YLF my confidence very much felt renewed. I began
to feel like wow I can do anything again. It gave me the change
to prove to myself, you know, not just my parents, not just my friends
and other family members but to myself, that yes, I can live on
my own some day. Yes, I can do those things that I desire to do,
that right now I may not be able to do because I don’t have
the necessary accommodations. But yes, I can do these things if
I put my mind to them.
The speakers gave a lot of encouragement as well because the way
YLF has been set up in Alabama the speakers came too have whatever-
some of the disabilities that the delegates have. And I feel that
that allows the delegates to relate more to those speakers because,
you know, we would listen to them more, and be able to say OK, yes,
this was a person who has gone through what I’ve gone through
so they know how I feel. And they can speak on this subject to me.
So like I said, after attending YLF my confidence was renewed.
I became more motivated to get involved in other things such as
organizations that help young people with disabilities to gain their
rights or know more about their rights and become more knowledgeable
of them and to answer the things that they need.
Also, after a while, I gained a lot of links and bonds with other
delegates. And even now I still keep in touch with some of them.
So I think that was very important too because here it is, you’ve
met this person that you’ve never known before. And you all
have something in common, you have YLF in common. And you talk about
it. And you’ve gone through it together. So after it’s
like you all have become stronger together. And you’re ready
to go out and tell the world about YLF. You’re ready to share
all of those fascinating things that you’ve learned about.
And I think that was very important too. Because now I don’t
feel as alone. And I also learned that there were various types
of disabilities, you know, out there, and that I represented under
ADA that I didn’t know about. I wasn’t aware of it.
-, disabilities were actually like really disabilities. I mean I
didn’t notice that. I wasn’t really aware of that. And
I also learned about some disabilities that I didn’t even
So I think it kind of just opened us more as young people. It made
us say hey, I can fight for my rights too. I don’t have to
sit back and wait for someone else to step up to the plate and fight
for me. I can be involved in this. And I just – I don’t
– I love YLF. I really did have a good time. And like I said
everything that we did everyone was able to participate in. I don’t
feel that there was anything that anyone had fit to decide on. Like
I said, maybe we couldn’t do it exactly like it – you
know, someone would think that it was supposed to be done. But there
were modifications in games, in activities or what have you where
everyone could have some in on participating.
So and in addition to all of the other things I’ve mentioned,
YLF also gave us a change to enhance our speaking skills. Each group
had a day where they had to introduce the speakers for that day
that would come in and talk with the whole group. So I think that
was also very important. I mean didn’t just get skills about
dealing with other people with disabilities. Or how do you act on
a job or how to go about finding a job and learning about accommodations.
But we also gained skills regarding communications. And I think
that was very important too because we learned how to communicate
with other people. We learned how to communicate our ideas and how
to share them in a productive manner.
Whereas before those were some things that we probably didn’t
know how to do. So I feel like I am indebted to YLF in some aspects
of life because they gave – it gave me meaning I feel I will
be able to carry with me, you know, for the rest of my life. And
then coming in as a staff member, I learned the other side of YLF
and how it all just comes together. And it’s very, very important
for all of the key players to be in place at their designated times.
And, you know, I didn’t realize these things as a delegate.
But now that I’ve come in as an alumnus and as a staff member,
I know the roles that everyone has. And yes, it’s time consuming.
Yes, it’s not very easy at times, but it’s fine. And
I think that’s what the delegates kind of appreciated about,
you know, YLF, yes, it’s fun. And yes, I’ve learned
something at the same time. And then on top of that I made bonds
with other people who are like me. And I don’t feel isolated
because these other people are like me. We have something in common.
And that thing that we have in common is our difference. So those
are some of the things that I’ve gained after attending YLF.
MS. SOCHA: Well thank you very much, Jennifer. I really appreciate
your participation. Now, I would like to invite the participants
to ask any questions or to comment on what they’ve heard.
Please announce your name, maybe the group that you’re with
or the state that you’re from. That would be really helpful.
And please address who your question is directed towards. We’ll
go ahead and get started if there are questions.
MR. PORTER: This is Doran Porter from Hawaii. I wanted to see
if there are any Web sites that might give some of this information
and even additional data.
MS. SOCHA: Sure, maybe I can answer that. This is Julia Socha and
I’m the moderator. We will hopefully after the end of this
– after this call there’s a transcript that’s
produced that housed on our Web site through the National Center
on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET). And at the end of
the call I’ll give you that Web site. And we’ll be happy
to provide additional links to resources and information. As Angeline
and June will probably mention, many of the states, the YLF’s
have their own Web sites right now. So you can just do a search,
for example, for Montana’s YLF, they have a Web site. And
I believe Angeline’s also does, and maybe they can give you
that address also. We’ll be happy to provide that information.
MS. PINCKARD: OK. Our Web site in Alabama is http://www.rehab.state.al.us/Home/default.aspx?url=/Home/Services/VRS/AGCEPD/Youth+Leadership+Forum/Main,
for Governor’s Committee. And the Youth Leadership Program
is listed as a program under the Governor’s Committee with
the Department of Rehabilitation Services.
MS. HERMANSON: And Montana’s Web site is http://www.montanaylf.org/.
I will tell you also that on our Web site a young person can click
on to the E-mail of a member of the leadership team and be able
to contact the leadership team directly and correspond.
MS. SOCHA: Great. Thank you. Are there additional questions?
MS. EPSTEIN: Yes, this is Alicia. ODEP does also have general
overview information on our Web site about WLF which is http://www.dol.gov/odep/.
MS. GRECO: I have a couple of questions. My name is Tina and I’m
calling from vocational rehabilitation in New Hampshire. One of
my first questions is for the students that have presented this
afternoon, what kind of leadership opportunities have you or would
you like to be involved in within your communities after participating
in the YLF?
MR. HORNE: Michael, this is Richard at ODEP. Do you want to talk
about the opportunity that you applied for?
MR. BEERS: A few months after I went through as a delegate in
2001, June E-mailed me with an opportunity to apply to be on the
U.S. Advisory Council to the President’s Task Force for Adults
with Disabilities. And I applied. And I really wasn’t expecting
to get accepted but I was. And it gave me an opportunity to go to
D.C. and meet with other peers and put together recommendations
for the Department of Labor and other organizations nationally.
And that – the term ended last summer, but it really gave
me an opportunity to meet other leaders my age. And then work with
Richard and a lot of other great people. And get involved on more
of a national level.
I’m also gotten more involved with my local independent living
center. I also went through their peer training. And as I’ve
mentioned before I’m come back as staff and worked a lot with
the Montana Center on Disabilities and June over the last few years.
MS. GRECO: Wonderful. Thank you. And my other
question is in regard to those states that are present today that
may be interested in doing YLF as their own. Will there be information
that will be available on the transcript in terms of how to go about
MS. SOCHA: I wanted to also mention that the NCSET hopes to do
some additional publications featuring information about YLF’s.
We hope to put a spotlight possibly on these same states or other
states, with regard to how they’ve conducted their YLF, how
things have been successful, the challenges that they’ve run
in to. And just some additional resources and information.
MS. GRECO: OK. Great. Thank you.
MS. EPSTEIN: This is Alicia. And there is also a manual for states
on how to set up an YLF based on the California model. So if you
contact me I can refer to you or explain to you how to get that
manual. And that manual really will answer all of your questions
about how one sets up that kind of program, how you get the funding,
where you can get support, how you can recruit youth with disabilities.
How you can do the – find a site, pick a site for you YLF,
how to get presenters to come in. That sort of thing. So that manual
is a great reference.
MS. GRECO: Thank you.
MR. GILMORE: This is Claude Gilmore in Wisconsin.
And I was interested in knowing about whether the – how do
you maintain the network with the young people? Is there adult and
youth partnerships? Or does this become a more peer mentoring model
to sustain it between the forms because the kids the need support?
I understand you had – there was a huge leadership sort of
advisory committee, but is this a government run? Or is this pretty
much outside the spectrum of government.
MS. HERMANSON: Well this is June from Montana. And really it depends
upon each state comes up with its own avenue by which it finds a
sponsor or a home if you will. And then you do get a seed grant
through the Department of Labor. States have gotten their initial
seed grant for their first year. But then it’s your responsibility
to become a free standing entity where you raise the funds yourself.
As far the state that might be starting from scratch, the network
of the leadership forums across the country provide a great amount
of resources from one other and support as we go along, create –
with new ideas or things to do things. So although ODEP facilitates
the conference calls that we participate in on a monthly basis,
each state really creates under the mission of the California model,
but we create the type of program that’s applicable to our
MS. GUILLORY: My name is Joan Guillory. I’m with the Louisiana
Youth Leadership Forum. And after that last comment as a perfect
lead in to my question, we just held our fifth forum last week.
And one of the things that we did a little differently this year
was that we took a slightly different approach that would culminate
in the development of that leadership plan that is on the core components.
And just giving a little information, we approached it from the
avenue of a leadership portfolio. So the format and the protocol
was a little different, specifically as part of the application
process, the development of that portfolio began. And then it continued
as part of the entity process. And then it certainly continued as
part of the Youth Leadership Forum itself. I was wondering if any
of the other states that have been conducting the forums have tried
to use any type of different approach to the development of that
MS. PINCKARD: This is Angeline. I’m not sure about that.
I know in Alabama we’re not doing that.
MS. GUILLORY: OK.
MS. PINCKARD: We are trying to track to see if they actually follow
up with what they’ve put on their leadership plan to see if
they’re actually doing what they said they wanted to do.
MS. GUILLORY: And in fact, as part of our leadership portfolio
we will have contact with the delegates for at least one year after
their participation in the forum because action journals are part
of that leadership portfolio. We were particularly excited about
how things went this year. And certainly we’d be willing to
share more information. But again, at this point, I was just curious
to see if anyone had deviated at all in terms of the approach to
development of the leadership plan.
MS. EPSTEIN: This is Alicia Epstein. Just to add to your question
about following up activities, and also for the personal leadership
plan. Different states due have different kinds of reunions. Some
have reunions, you know, six months later, a year later, they all
get to meet up again. And they meet up with our mentors again as
well. And also there’s an E-mail kind of communication contact
that some people keep up with. And then some of the states keep
a personal leadership plan. And then three months after the YLF
they will send a copy of that plan, the personal leadership plan
to the delegates again as like a reminder. For them just to remind
what they did plan to do. So this is some of the follow up activities
that other states have done.
MS. GUILLORY: OK.
MS. HERMANSON: This is June from Montana. Now what we have done
is we’ve blended information from personal future plans for
those that are familiar with personal future plans. Our small group
facilitators found the first year that they needed a little more
information to assist the delegate. And, so, some of the personal
future planning process has been blended in to notebooks and in
to our leadership plan development. And we found that to be beneficial.
And at this point, we found that that will stay in place. We too
track individuals for a year, at least a year.
MS. GUILLORY: Right. I probably would be interested in speaking
with you a little bit more at length later. Because actually the
leadership portfolio piece that was put in place does also feature
aspects of personal futures planning, a person centered planning
in terms of personal statements, and a future vision and dreams
and those kinds of things. So that could be an interesting conversation
for us to have if you don’t mind.
MS. HERMANSON: Certainly.
MS. WELLS: This is Gillian with Nevada Parent Training and Information
Center. And I have a couple of questions. One question is –
I’m sorry – anyway, I have a question that with the
YLF I was curious, I know it’s a week’s program. I’ve
gone through the training in Washington, but has any other state
taken it kind of like what Nevada is trying to do and make it a
three year program where kids get actual credit. Has that –
has any other state kind of expanded the idea?
MS. PINCKARD: What kind of credit are you talking about?
MS. WELLS: It would be a leadership elective credit.
MS. PINCKARD: OK. We’ve not done that in Alabama. We’ve
just encouraged them to come back as staff members because we think
that’s another way to deal with leadership potential.
MS. HERMANSON: This is June from Montana and we have not done that.
But this year for the first time the personal assistants that were
on staff on our forum got credit for their attendance of the sectionals
that they were in with our delegates that they learned a great deal
about. And so they received training credits for their participation.
MR. GILMORE: This is Claude Gilmore from Wisconsin. For those who
mentioned about credit, were those credits to the Department of
Public Instruction? Or were those credits to college or any kind
MS. WELLS: Well what we’re talking about in Nevada is having
it go through the department so that these are actual high school
MR. HORNE: This is Richard from ODEP in Washington. Has anyone
tried to connect them through any kind of service learning requirements?
MS. PINCKARD: Well there are certain, I don’t know whether
you call them service learning requirements or not but under our
funding source with the work investment youth council money we are
required to do a certain amount of checking about their educational,
where they are in their educational program.
And two of our college students that act as staff many of them are
getting college credits for being staff members.
MS. WELLS: OK. And then my second question kind of takes us on
a different topic. As I mentioned before, I’m with the Parent
Training and Information Center - have any of the other states included
the PTI in the whole process of putting their YLF group together.
MS. GUILLORY: This is Joan Guillory form Louisiana.
Since our inception five years ago, we’ve have three collaborating
agencies involved in our Youth Leadership Forum. And that is one
of our collaborating agencies. So we’ve had a history of five
years along those lines.
MS. WELLS: Nice to hear thanks.
MS. RINKIN: This is Judy Rinkin from Oregon Parent
Training and Information Center. And I presented at our forum this
year. And I believe in the past, we have had others who have gone
and participated with our leadership forum.
MS. HERMANSON: This is June from Montana. Our parent program organization
is actively involved including providing the technology segment
of our program agenda.
MS. PINCKARD: Our parent training program is under the division
of special education in Alabama. And special education is participating
with us. Our strongest agency though that provides the most support
is the Department of Rehabilitation services.
MR. NURSE: This is Tom from Colorado. I’m
with the Colorado Service Inclusion project. And I heard Richard
mention this a little bit, and I didn’t really get a clear
sense as to what other participants in the call felt about if there
were any sorts of efforts made to expand the Youth Leadership Forums
in to a learn and serve type of a program, for they might be able
to impact the community with the leaderships kinds of skills that
these delegates had received. Do you know if anybody is doing that?
MS. PINCKARD: This is Angeline from Alabama.
As far as I know there are some programs that don’t have strictly
a four day or a five day format as in the original model. There
are a couple of states that have like two or three sessions during
the year, or they have one long session and then come back as a
reunion. But as far as actual service involvement as a follow up
to YLF, I don’t know about any of those. Alicia, do you?
MS. EPSTEIN: No, I don’t – tend to have that four
or five day model. So yes, no, there’s not really more what
you’re looking for.
MS. SOCHA: Angeline, this is Julia Socha. As we were planning this
call, you and I spoke, and I believe you mentioned involving Vista
members, AmeriCorps members and the correlation of your YLF. How
did that take place? And are those members individuals with disabilities?
Hopefully, I’m remembering correctly. Can you refresh my memory
MS. HERMANSON: Actually on July 17th, the Montana Youth Leadership
Forum received – we applied for and received – was awarded
a Vista position. We have a Vista worker that is with our YLF for
the next year working 40 hours a week. And we just went through
the normal process that anybody would do as far as applying for
a Vista worker. We did the interviews. We did – the young
woman that will be serving with our program for the next year does
not have a disability but is a family member of a person with a
disability. So she has first-hand experience with the disability
So her first week on staff as the Vista was to participate in the
forum. Some of the things that she will be doing over the next year
is helping us come up with recruitment strategies, resource development,
some survey materials so that we can continue to track and collect
data as we come upon our fifth year of the forum and possibly put
together a statewide youth conference, which would immediately follow
the Youth Leadership Forum next year pulling in youth of more than
– a wider age group than currently has served through the
Another thing that she will be helping with is National Mentoring
Day which I hope that we can blend some of this year’s delegates
into that day. We will learn together but it’s a great opportunity
for our YLF to have someone on board full time.
MS. SOCHA: Wonderful. This is Julia again. Thanks for clarifying
that and sharing that information. I just want to mention here that
it would be a great opportunity to involve and explore service-learning
opportunities through collaborative efforts of the Youth Leadership
Forums. I direct the Minnesota Service Inclusion Project, and it
would be wonderful to have presentations about individuals with
disabilities that are involved in opportunities, service learning
opportunities, or opportunities like AmeriCorps. And the Vista opportunities
as well as even Senior Corps have let the YLF delegates know about
some of those future opportunities that they can also explore.
And unfortunately we are heading towards the end of our call here.
And I want to make sure to make some final announcements here. So
we need to wrap up the presentation today. I wanted to let you know
that further information about the YLF will be coming in the future
and available through the NCSET Web site. We will be exploring these
and many other opportunities for youth as we’ve shared through
this call today to gain leadership skills and to help to market
some of those types of activities through collaborative effort.
And then as far as transcripts for today’s call, I would
say that within the next five to six weeks there will be a transcript
on our Web site which is http://www.ncset.org. And you would go
under teleconference section which is on the left side bar. And
just click on this and you’ll find a transcript of this entire
call. And so that if you’d like to go ahead and do that, please
feel free. And please also feel free to forward this information
to others that may not have been able to join us on this call today.
If you’re interested in participating in another teleconference
call you can just visit the NCSET Web site. Click on teleconferences
link and you’ll also get the information on upcoming calls.
So I would like to really thank, on behalf of the National Center
of Secondary Education and Transition, all of our speakers and the
participants. Your questions were very poignant and helped us to
really explore some of these unique opportunities. So thank you
very much to our presenters and the participants for being on the
call today. I know everyone really appreciates it.
And if you would like to contact me, Julia Socha, for additional
information you can do that by calling me on my phone 612-624-2008.
Otherwise my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
And that I will help you in any way possible to direct you to appropriate
resources that you might be looking for. So again, I want to thank
everyone. It’s two o’clock now. Thanks again. And we
appreciate you being on this call. Have a great afternoon!
END OF TELECONFERENCE
Alabama Youth Leadership Forum Web site:
Montana Youth Leadership Forum Web site:
ODEP/Office of Disability Employment Policy Youth Leadership Forum
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