The next conference will be April 26-28, 2024! In person registration is closed, but VIRTUAL registration is open for the Game of LIFE!

New here and curious about our conferences? You can watch our behind the scenes video on the left to learn more.

About Youth Conferences

Project LIFE hosts two statewide conferences for youth twice a year: in the spring and in the fall. Historically, these are large, in-person events that draw youth and workers from all over the state to one spot for one awesome weekend. Throughout the pandemic, we continued planning and hosting great conferences, they just looked a little different and were on a virtual platform. In the spring and fall of 2022, we hosted a hybrid conference (held in person at about half capacity due to COVID safety precautions with a virtual component). Read on for general conference information, or visit again as the next conference gets closer for specific details and updates.

What Happens at a Youth Conference?

At Project LIFE’s statewide Youth Conferences, you can meet other youth in foster care, build friendships and learn about your rights. You’ll also have the opportunity to develop skills that will help you live independently. Workshop topics may include:

Networking: Learn to make connections and why they matter, whether the connection is with other youth in foster care or with people who can help you build skills, find work or otherwise show you the way.

Leadership: Being an effective leader can help you in school, sports, your social life and your career. This curriculum is part of the Youth Leadership Institute, developed by Project LIFE to help youth in foster care become confident leaders.

Education: What are your educational options after high school? No, college isn’t the only way to learn more about things that interest you or to build a career. Find out what your other options are.

Public Speaking: With the training offered by the Speakers Bureau, you can be an effective speaker in a variety of settings, including school and work.

Good Credit and Money Management: Your credit rating can cost you a job or limit your housing choices. Find out ways to build and maintain good credit.

Advocacy: You’ll be taught the skills you need to advocate for yourself and for others in foster care so your voice can be heard whether it’s loud or soft.

Who can attend and how do I sign up?


Youth interested in attending must be:

  • In Virginia, between the ages of 14-21
  • Currently in foster care, receiving foster care/IL services, or adopted after the age of 16
  • Interested in learning life, leadership, and advocacy skills

Conference Application/Registration

Youth who meet the criteria should submit a conference application with the assistance of their LDSS worker. A complete application has three different forms to complete: 1) a registration form to be filled out by the LDSS worker or the youth, if the youth is 18 years of age or older; 2) a youth questionnaire to be filled out by the youth applicant; and 3) a character form to be filled out by the LDSS worker. If the youth has been adopted, the adoptive parent must complete the application and list their information where it says “Worker” or “LDSS.” To attend virtually, there is just one registration form.

Completed applications will be reviewed by Project LIFE staff. Youth will be accepted to the conference based on demonstrated interest in the focus and goals of the conference and recent conduct. A designated amount of youth will be accepted to the each conference, with the goal of youth representatives from each of the five regions in Virginia.

Additional Information


The conference is free of charge to participants and is paid for by the Project LIFE grant funded by VDSS.

Access for Virtual Attendees

Once your registration form is reviewed, you will receive a link to access all of the sessions and events. All will take place through the Zoom platform. Participants can download the application before the event, or join through the link on their computer or device. You will need a stable internet connection to view and participate in the sessions.


Our conferences are successful because of the volunteers that spend time with us at the conferences. Brand new volunteers and presenters interested in getting into our active pool of volunteers for each conference can fill in this application. If you are a good fit for our specific population, a staff member will be in touch with you. If you have volunteered with us before and are already in our active pool, you will be contacted about the upcoming conference. Additionally, you can support Project LIFE by becoming a Family Champion through UMFS. Learn more about supporting UMFS and Project LIFE.

If you have any questions about the conference, email George Mack at or call 804.239.1044.