Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Missouri Youth Leadership Forum has been canceled.

As an alternate leadership program, Regional Leadership Forums (RLFs) will be offered in different parts of the state this fall and applications are now being accepted.

The Regional Leadership Forums (RLF) are one-day leadership trainings for high school students with disabilities (ages 16-21). Each RLF will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the following cities:

  • October 3, 2020 – Kansas City
  • October 17, 2020 – Springfield
  • October 24, 2020 – Jefferson City
  • November 7, 2020 – Cape Girardeau

**To ensure the health and safety of all participants, safety precautions will be taken at the RLF to include PPE and social distancing. Should it become necessary to postpone the RLF due to changes in the COVID-19 pandemic, the alternate dates will be in spring 2021.**

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Youth: (select one format)

Or, print, complete and mail in:

Staff/Volunteers: (select one format)

Or, print, complete and send in:

Missouri Youth Leadership Forum - Descriptive video

Youth video for potential applicants

Program Video for Professionals & Families


The 18th Annual Missouri Youth Leadership Forum will be held in July 2021.

Applications for 2021 will be available in November 2020.

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.

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 available to student delegates at NO COST. 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?

Download the application and mail, fax or email to:

Governor's Council on Disability
Missouri Youth Leadership Forum
P.O. Box 1668
Jefferson City, Missouri 65201-1668
(Fax) 573-526-4109

Who serves as staff at the Forum?

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

Applications for 2021 will be available in November 2020.

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

Calling All Leaders!

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