Why YLF??

What is the purpose of YLF?
The Youth Leadership Forum enables young adults who have a disability to learn from each other and from successful adults with disabilities who are recognized leaders and role models. Students learn more about their own disability and others’ disabilities, to analyze their own strengths and weaknesses and to make decisions, organizational skills, learn different leadership styles, learn about the legislative process and disability laws, how to influence others, etiquette, and much more!

What is the cost to attend YLF?
There is no cost to the student or family. Donations are solicited from businesses and organizations statewide to cover the cost of the forum.

What does the application process entail?

  1. The student fills out an application which includes demographic information, record of school and community involvement, and response to essay questions. The essays can be written or recorded. Two letters of recommendation are also required.
  2. The student then has a personal interview with a Transition Liaison and Vocational Rehabilitation representative. The interview will be conducted at the school or location of the student’s choice.
  3. After all interviews have been completed, a steering committee reviews the applications and selects the “delegates” who are approved to attend.

What is a delegate?
A first-time attendee. Delegates may apply to return to future YLF camps in a leadership capacity as Team Leader or Mentor to help direct small groups.

Where do the students sleep while at YLF?
Delegates stay in a dorm on the University campus, males/females are separated on floors. Most delegates will have a roommate pre-selected by staff.

What happens if the student needs medical attention?
There is 24-hour nursing services available. The nursing staff is on-site at the dorm overnight.

What age students and what types of disability are eligible to attend?
YLF is ideal for high school juniors and seniors. There are no restrictions on what types of disabling conditions are eligible. Young people who have a disability and who can demonstrate leadership potential, academic success, community involvement, and the ability to interact effectively with others should attend!

What does a typical day look like at YLF?
Breakfast at 8am, large group meetings with featured speakers, breaks with snacks, small group activities led by experienced Team Leaders and Mentors, lunch at the campus cafeteria, hands-on training and demonstrations, fun-filled activities! Every evening a special event is planned, such as a picnic, magic show, art party, karaoke, and dance.  YLF is meant to give the student a “taste of college life” by being held on a university campus, eating on campus, sleeping in a dorm, etc. However, the students are never alone. They walk to/from the dorm to meeting rooms in groups, etc.


Make Your Application  for the


June 2-6, 2019

Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD


YLF Delegate Application 2019

YLF Team Leader/Asst. Team Leader Application 2018


Youth Leadership Forum Videos. Click to play.