Statewide Youth Conference
2023 Spring Conference
“Dream LIFE Plaza”
May 5-7, 2023
Virginia Beach, VA or Online
View this video to learn more about our conferences.
Dates: May 5-7, 2023
Location: Holiday Inn, Virginia Beach, VA or Online via Zoom
We’re pleased to announce the details of the 2023 Spring Hybrid Conference. Learn ways to navigate the read world and work towards your dream life. We are aiming for a pre-pandemic sized conference, also involving our hybrid approach, where youth can attend in-person or online. In-person attendees will attend Friday-Sunday, will take part in our traditional Project LIFE party, and of course will make new friends. Everyone will improve independent living skills, no matter their attendance style.
COVID-19 + Safety Measures
We are so excited to be able to offer an in-person version of this conference, and we need to make sure that we all stay safe while attending. We will have safety strategies in place for COVID and other health concerns. When you submit your application to attend the in-person track, you agree to comply with all safety measures, which will include:
- the recommendation of wearing a mask over your mouth and nose;
- social distancing and remaining in your designated small group;
- completing morning health checks and screenings.
We are considering many aspects as we plan our conference, including the mitigation strategies and how to best keep everyone safe. Additional strategies may be added and communicated as the conference nears.
How to Apply – Youth and Volunteers
Youth interested in attending must be:
- Between the ages of 14-21
- Currently in foster care, or adopted after the age of 16
- Interested in networking, permanency, and self-sufficiency
Plaza Floor Level 1: Virtual Conference Registration
While the in-person availability is limited, the virtual attendance has more flexibility. Youth may register to be a virtual attendee if they are not attending in-person. There is only one registration form for this participation. All youth that complete this form will be able to attend online. Not all in-person conference sessions will be available virtually, and a more detailed agenda will be released as the conference gets closer.
Form 1: Virtual Registration Form – This is completed by the LDSS worker or the youth if they are 18 or older.
The virtual registration window closes May 1. All eligible youth that submit the virtual registration form will be able to attend virtually and more information, like the schedule and zoom link, will be emailed after registration closes.
Plaza Floor Level 2: In-Person Conference Application
Youth who meet the criteria should submit a conference application with the assistance of their LDSS worker. There are three separate forms to the in person application, and all three are needed to complete the application. If the youth has been adopted, the adoptive parent must complete the application and list their information where it says “Worker” or “LDSS.”
Form 1: Registration Form – This form is completed by the LDSS worker or the youth if they are 18 or older.
Form 2: Youth Questionnaire – This form is completed by the youth.
Form 3: Character Form –This form is completed by the LDSS worker.
The application window closes on March 31, 2023. 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, recent conduct, and capacity. Project LIFE will send notification emails. If a youth is not accepted to the in-person version of the conference, they may still register for the virtual version.
We will need volunteers (21 and up) to help make our conference great. All youth attendees and adult volunteers will need to follow the safety guidelines put in place by Project LIFE. Adults interested in volunteering can submit this volunteer application form.
Once the application is received, we will review it. Accepted applicants will be contacted asked to complete the backgrounding packet. Applications and all backgrounding packets for accepted volunteers will need to be submitted by the deadline of March 24, 2023. If you have questions about the volunteering process or experience, you can contact Kelly.
What Happens at a Youth Conference?
The conference will be on a weekend. Youth will stay overnight, usually at a hotel, and all meals will be provided. Conferences start with icebreakers, so youth can get to know each other. The conferences focus on leadership and advocacy. You’ll have a good time – conferences include fun times like dance parties, lots of food, and sometimes a trip out of the hotel.
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.
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.
The conference is free of charge to participants.
Project LIFE will not be providing transportation to and from the conference. It is the responsibility of the youth’s worker or foster parent to transport the youth and remain until a negative Covid questionnaire screening is achieved.
Spring attendees will be staying in hotel accommodations provided by Project LIFE from Friday night through Sunday morning. In an effort to increase our number of youth that can attend, youth attendees will share a room with another youth. Youth can request who they want to be roomed with in the Youth Questionnaire form.
We will have several medication technicians onsite to collect and administer medications to all youth throughout the weekend. When registering a youth, please ensure that all of the medication information is listed correctly, including name, dosage, frequency, and the reason for taking the medications. All medication must be in the original containers and labeled with the youth’s name. Medication must be logged and turned into the medication technicians for all youth attendees, even if the youth is over 18 years old.
Questions? We are here to help. Please reach out to Project Manager George Mack or Project Specialist Kelly Trump if you have any questions.