What activities and opportunities are offered at the Convention for self-advocates?
The Youth & Adults Conference is the heart and soul of the weekend. It is designed to be a fun, enriching and empowering experience for self-advocates (individuals with DS) age 15 and older. Separate registration is required to attend the Y&A conference.
With the support of NDSC’s Youth & Adults Support Team, this conference is planned and presented by self-advocates, for self-advocates.
Proposals to speak at the Y&A Conference are being accepted now. The Deadline to submit is January 5, 2018. For more information and the proposal form see Call for Speakers.
The Y&A Conference begins Friday afternoon with a high energy Kick-Off Party. This is an opportunity for self-advocates to reunite with good friends and make new acquaintances. The afternoon includes a keynote presentation, ice-breaker activities, and of course music. Attendees will also vote for their NDSC Self-Advocate Board of Directors representative after viewing the campaign speeches of the nominees running for the position
Saturday is filled with opportunities for self-advocates to learn, share, and participate. The day begins at 9:00am, INCLUDES lunch for all attendees and volunteers, and adjourns at 5:15pm. Throughout the day self-advocates will move in rotation groups through Workshops and Spotlight Presentations presented or lead by self-advocates, and selected for that rotation group based on their composition. Rotation groups are determined by table assignments. Registered Y&A attendees are assigned to a table with 7-9 other self-advocates and 1-3 volunteers (depending on the support needs at that table). Individuals at these tables move together with the volunteer(s) through the various programming pieces inevitably providing the proper support for all attendees.
Sunday boasts the Talent Show Extravaganza, which is an annual celebration where self-advocates showcase their talents and interests. Attendees are not required to perform, but if they wish to do so, they must submit a Performance Request Form after completing their Y&A conference registration. The day begins at 8:15am and ends at 12:15pm. A mid-morning snack is provided to all attendees and volunteers.
On Sunday, Y&A attendees also have the opportunity to attend Special Workshops lead by leaders in the Down syndrome community in lieu of attending a portion of the talent show. To attend one of these special workshops this option must be selected during the Y&A registration process.
- Registering for Y&A Conference
To attend, self-advocates must register specifically for the Y&A Conference, by selecting Y&A Conference and completing the necessary questions during the convention registration process.
Registered Y&A attendees are assigned to a table with 7-9 other self-advocates and 1-3 volunteers (depending on the support needs at that table). Individuals at these tables move together with the volunteer(s) through the various programming pieces during the weekend providing the proper support for all attendees.
Y&A attendees receive a special name tag, which identifies their assigned table number, their schedule and a family contact number. It also includes an indicator telling volunteers whether the individual is permitted to leave the conference independently or must wait for a family member at the end of each day’s programming.
Proper support of all self-advocates is of utmost importance to us, both for their safety and enjoyment. This requires much time and planning prior to the conference itself. We ask for necessary information at the time of registration. This gives us ample time to appropriately match volunteer staff with our attendees. For this reason, we do not accept any on-site registrations for the Y&A Conference.
- Be a part of the Y&A Conference Memory Book
The Memory Book is like a yearbook for the Y&A Convention Attendees only. Y&A Conference Attendees must submit their memory book information to be included in the Memory Book. The form asks for your name, where you live, a couple sentences you would like to share about yourself, and a picture.
For questions about the memory book contact Jean@NDSCcenter.org
- Y&A Conference Annual Talent Show!
We are looking for musicians, actors, singers, poets, dancers, comedians, martial artists and magicians to perform for the best audience in the world! Be a part of our Sunday entertainment you must indicate your interest in performing during Y&A registration. Once registered you will be sent the Talent Show Performance Request Form. You must submit your information to our panel of scouts to reserve your moment on stage. This year we will have three categories of performances. A limited number of acts will be selected for each category. Selection will be based on a first come first served basis.
Spotlight Performances: Performance is maximum of three (3) minute. This can be a group or individual performance.
Principal Performances: Performance is a maximum of 90 seconds. This can be a small group or individual performance.
Group Performances: Individuals can request to part of a performance to one of several pre-selected songs. All those selected will perform on stage at the same time to the designated song.
For questions about performing contact Jean@NDSCcenter.org
- Be an NDSC Board of Director
All individuals with DS ages 22 and older are eligible to run for the NDSC Board of Directors. Three self-advocates serve on the BOD and each year one self-advocate is elected by his or her peers at the convention’s Y&A Conference for a three-year term. If you are interesting in running for the board please complete the Board Nomination Form before the deadline. Financial support is available for self-advocate directors to attend the two annual board meetings held each year.
Board Nomination form will be available in early Spring 2018.
- Attend the Friendship Club Open House
All individuals with DS ages 15 and older are invited to drop by the Friendship Club open house time and date TBD. Friendship Club is an opportunity to meet new friends and connect with old friends. You do not need to be registered for the Y&A conference to attend the open house. The Friendship Club evolved from an idea from former board member, Patricia Moody, as way for individuals with DS to meet new people in a relaxed and unstructured environment. The Club continues to be supported by current and former board members. Please drop by and meet some new friends. (Note: This is an unsupported event and individuals with higher support needs should not be left unattended by family or friends.)
- Dance - Dance - Dance
One Weekend – Two Dances!
Friday, July 13, 8:00-10:00 pm
Join us at our 321 Dance™ – a celebration for all. This dance is held simultaneously with the Opening Reception and follows the Opening Plenary session. The Opening Reception is open to all and includes a cash bar and complimentary desserts. Here families from around the globe gather to begin an exciting weekend together.
Saturday, July 14, 8:00-10:00 pm
On Saturday evening, we will host our Star Studded Dinner. This is a ticketed event. However, immediately following the dinner, there will be an awesome opportunity for all attendees to dance the night away. There is no ticket required for this event. Doors open at the conclusion of the dinner, approximately 8:00 pm.