Project LIFE hosts 2 statewide youth conferences a year. These are for youth who are or have been in care in the state of Virginia and are aged 14-21. Whether you are familiar with the conferences before the pandemic, or are new to Project LIFE’s services and conferences, we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions. These are general questions and apply to all conferences.
Q: I am a worker. Do I need to go all weekend if my youth are going?
A: No! You may need to help get your youth there, but we will have background-checked staff and volunteers there to hang out with your youth. You do not need to stay, just sign in the youth at the end of the weekend, and sign them out when it’s time to pick them up.
Q: I am a worker and I want to go with my youth! Can I do that?
A: We would love to have you apply to one of those background checked volunteers mentioned in the first question. We ask that interested volunteers complete the application form each conference, but background checks last for 3 years. The volunteer application form is found on our conference webpage.
Q: I am a youth and want to attend in-person. I filled in the youth questionnaire. Am I done?
A: Not yet. We have three forms to to complete an application so that we can collect all of the information we need to review your application and attend. Please work with your LDSS and/or your placement to complete the other forms.
Q: What if I want to attend online since I live far away from the conference site?
A: You can! Part of the conference will be available on Saturday to virtual attendees. You can register for that attendance up until closer to the conference date.
Q: My application is complete! I am going, right?
A: We are collecting applications until the window closes. At that time, we will be reviewing all applications. We have a set number of slots and can’t accept everyone. Shortly after it closes, we will be sending notification emails to all youth with completed applications. If invited, we will need verbal/written acceptance of the invitation. If not accepted this time, then youth are invited to register to attend virtually.
Q: I was accepted! Do I need to arrange my own lodging?
A: No! We arrange lodging for all accepted youth and volunteers. Just show up!
Q: How does lodging/rooming work?
A: Starting in Spring 2023, youth attendees will be sharing a room with one other youth of the same gender. Youth can request their roommate in the youth questionnaire form. We suggest this is talked about ahead of time, and youth that want to room together mutually request one another. Note that requests are not final, and that PL staff will assign final room assignments which will be shared at the conference. Volunteers will be given their own room.
Q: I was not accepted to attend in-person this time. Can I still attend virtually?
A: We wish we could accept everyone, but we don’t have enough space. Please apply again next time. Yes, you can definitely attend virtually. Virtual attendance has a one-form registration process that is separate from the in-person application, so fill in the form and we’ll see you on the computer.
Q: I am a youth who can’t drive yet. How do I get to the conference?
A: Work with your LDSS, placement, or IL home to get you there. (Maybe a train or a bus is a good fit!) Project LIFE staff are not able to transport youth to the conference.
Q: This seems awesome! How much does it cost?
A: There is no cost to youth or volunteers, thanks to the funding Project LIFE receives from the Virginia Department of Social Services.
Q: But COVID is still around. What will the conference be like?
A: To provide a safe in-person experience, we will have COVID-19 mitigation strategies in place for all attendees, volunteers, and facilitators, including health questionnaires. Learn more on our website.
Q: Is there a dress code for youth or volunteers?
A: We will be moving around and encourage all youth and volunteers to dress comfortably. Plan to wear comfortable shoes and clothes that allow movement. We ask that clothes worn are not offensive. Each conference, all attendees are given a PL shirt and are asked to wear those on Saturday. Additionally, a packing list with conference-specific activity items will be emailed to all accepted attendees as it nears.
Visit our conference page for links and info. Have more questions that we have not answered? Get in touch and let us know.