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Missouri Youth Leadership Forum

The 18th Annual Missouri Youth Leadership Forum (MO-YLF) will be held July 12-16, 2022.

The Missouri Youth Leadership Forum is a unique career leadership-training program for high school students with disabilities, ages 16 – 21. Youth delegates are selected from their local communities to cultivate leadership, citizenship, social, and career development skills at this summer program.

Applications for delegates have closed.

To apply for the 2022 Missouri Youth Leadership Forum as a staff member/volunteer, please complete the application below by May 15.

Download application (fillable Word)

  • After clicking on the application link, you’ll need to download and save the document to your computer or device.

Please select one of the following options for submitting your completed application:

  • Fax to: 573-526-4109
  • Mail to:

    Governor’s Council on Disability
    Missouri Youth Leadership Forum
    PO Box 1668
    Jefferson City, MO 65102

If you have any questions or need an alternative form for application, contact our office at: or 800-877-8249

2022 Sponsors:

Hosting Agencies

Governor's Council On Disability
Missouri VR
Missouri University Pre-Employment Transition Services

Gold Level

Edward Jones Logo
Veteran's United Foundation

Silver Level


Bronze Level


Supporter Level

None at This Time

In-kind Donations

MU - College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources

Caitlin Bartley


Missouri Youth Leadership Forum - Descriptive Video

Youth Video for Potential Applicants

Program Video for Professionals & Families

What is the Missouri Youth Leadership Forum


What are the goals of the Missouri Youth Leadership Forum?

  • Develop leadership skills to ensure that all youth with disabilities will realize their full potential
  • Develop career strategies that increase the youth’s potential for employment
  • Promote inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society
  • Participate in policymaking or practices that affect youth people with disabilities

Why is the Missouri Youth Leadership Forum only for students with disabilities?

It is important for students with disabilities to meet other students who share similar experiences. Through the course of five days, students build pride and self-esteem and learn from each other. Youth begin building a supportive community.

The key success to the Missouri Youth Leadership Forum is leadership by example. As part of the program, students meet successful adults with disabilities who share similar challenges. This framework provides an atmosphere of encouragement which helps youth realize their ability to pursue meaningful employment and become contributing members of society.

How are students selected?

Youth are selected through a statewide competitive process that seeks students with disabilities who have leadership potential. Each applicant submits a standard application, resume and three references.

The student delegates will represent a cross section of Missouri in terms of geography, gender, economic status, ethnicity and different types of disabilities.

What is the agenda?

  • Learning and applying leadership principles
  • Understanding the disability experience and sharing resources
  • Assistive technology
  • Building independent living skills and setting career goals
  • Developing advocacy skills

What is the cost?

The Missouri Youth Leadership Forum is funded through state agencies, sponsorships and donations. Students will not be charged to participate. Students are responsible for their transportation to and from Columbia.

If you would like to help defray the cost of this program, please make your tax-deductible donation payable to the MO-YLF dba Paraquad and mail to:

Missouri Youth Leadership Forum
PO Box 1668
Jefferson City, MO 65101

How do I apply?

To apply for to the Missouri Youth Leadership Forum, click here.

If you have questions about the application, please contact our office at (573) 751-2600.

To request the application in an alternate format as an accommodation, please contact Rachel Rackers at

Who serves as staff at the Missouri Youth Leadership Forum?

In addition to staff from the Governor's Council on Disability and our partnering agencies, qualified volunteers are needed to staff the MO-YLF. If you are interested in participating as a Facilitator, Team Member, Community Volunteer, Personal Care Assistant, Dorm Parent, or Mentor, please click here to complete the application.

To see descriptions of all the positions that are available, visit this link for PDF version or Word version.

Who Hosts the Missouri Youth Leadership Forum?

The Missouri Youth Leadership Forum is hosted by the Governor's Council on Disability in collaboration with MU College of Education, MU-Pre-Employment Transition Services, Paraquad and Vocational Rehabilitation.

The following documents provide an educational tool for recruiting youth delegates to attend the annual Missouri Youth Leadership Forum for students with disabilities.

Sample Resume

Missouri Youth Leadership Flyer and Q&A

Link to the National Youth Leadership Network

Link to National Associations of Youth Leadership Forums

Slide Shows from previous Missouri Youth Leadership Forums

2014 Missouri Youth Leadership Forum YouTube Video

2013 Missouri Youth Leadership Forum YouTube Video

2012 Missouri Youth Leadership Forum YouTube Video

2011 Missouri Youth Leadership Forum Slide Show