Youth & Family Summit FAQs
Who can apply to the Youth & Family Summit?
Virginia youth with disabilities between the ages of 14-18 can apply to participate in the in-person Youth and Family Summit. There are no exceptions to the age requirements, however, keep your eyes on our event pages for local events that often have a wider age range.
Who runs the Youth & Family Summit?
The Youth & Family Summit is run by the I’m Determined State Team, which consists of:
- Determinators – Adult staff who all are part of Virginia’s Training & Technical Assistance Centers. Determinators are professionals (mostly previous special educators) who work with K-12 schools to increase the outcomes for students with disabilities. At the event, they work with State Youth Leaders to facilitate sessions for attendees, answer questions, and help guide the momentum of the event.
- State Youth Leaders – Youth and young adults with disabilities, ages 13-21 who work with Determinators year-round, get youth leadership training, and act as facilitators during youth sessions. These amazing individuals are at the event to help welcome families to the event and increase the success of each participant. They facilitate sessions, lead panel discussions, and even DJ at the social!
- Support Staff – A team of 5-7 specialists who act as another layer of support for any attendee who may need additional support. These individuals are there to help attendees participate to their fullest capacity while allowing each individual to have their needs met.
- Co-State Coordinators & Family Specialist – Adult staff who oversee the operations of the event, help problem-solve as needed, and support the Determinators and Youth Leaders to create an amazing experience for all who attend.
- Parent Leaders – Parents of State Youth Leaders who attend the Family Summit, help welcome parents and caregivers, facilitate sessions, and connect attendees to the people and resources that fit their need.
What should I prepare before starting an application?
There are a few things that are helpful to have ready before you start the application process:
- Working email address – All communication, including acceptance letters, are sent through email. Please make sure that you use an email address that is working and that you can access easily. Also, make sure you enter the email address carefully when prompted so that our communication gets to you. **PRO TIP – School email addresses often get blocked, so if you have a personal email address that you check regularly, use that one!
- Demographic information – Your address, phone number, email address, and school information (if still attending school) is all part of the application information. The same goes for your parent/guardian and emergency contact. Having this information ready will allow you to complete your application faster.
- Application Question Response – See below for more information.
What happens once I submit my application?
Once you click submit, you will automatically receive a copy of your application emailed to the address that you gave on your application. The I’m Determined team will also receive a copy of your application. Give the system 10 minutes or so to send the confirmation email. If you don’t receive this confirmation email, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I didn’t receive a confirmation email. What should I do?
There are usually two reasons this might happen:
- Your email system is not allowing it to come through. Check your Spam or Junk folder to see if it is there.
- The email address that you provided was not entered correctly. If this is the case, we need to correct your email address. Contact email@example.com and let us know about your issue.
Can I receive assistance when filling out the application?
Yes, we encourage youth with all abilities to apply and understand that some individuals will need assistance or accommodations when filling out the application. For the essay portion, we do want to see youth-generated work. This doesn’t mean that the youth performed each task necessary to complete the essay, but that the answers provided represent who they are.
Can you tell me more about the application questions?
Answering the application questions is a way for us to get to know the student who is applying. Answers to the application questions do not need to be written. All we ask is that the youth answers the questions provided in some way or another. We accept typed answers, voice recordings, videos, and presentations. If you choose to send a recording or presentation, the only thing that is required is that you can send us a link that allows us to access it.
**Please note: The easiest way to send us a video or large file is to first house it somewhere online, such as DropBox, Google Drive, YouTube, or Vimeo. Once it is online, type the link to your video essay in the application fields and we should be able to access it. If we can’t access it, we will reach out to you about that.
How are applications processed? Is it first-come, first-served?
All applications that are received by the deadline are given to our review team after the application window has closed. Turning in your application early does not give any extra weight to your application. However, we do encourage you to apply as soon as you can. This will allow time to fix any issues, should they occur. All applications are processed equally by our team, who looks for authenticity, completeness of each component, and for the application to represent the youth who is applying. The application system will automatically turn off at the end of the application window. No late applications will be accepted.
What are the dorms like?
Youth and guardians share a dorm room at the event. As you can see from the video below, many attendees bring supplies to make it feel more like home!
What is the dining hall like?
All meals take place in the East Campus Dining Hall, aka E-Hall. It is an all-you-care-to-eat experience with lots of delicious options. All food options are carefully prepared and labeled for food allergies, and if you have specific needs, the head chef is always willing to work with you to make sure you get a good meal.
Do parents need to apply?
Parents do NOT apply for the Youth and Family Summit. Only youth apply, and accepted youth under 18 must have a parent/guardian attend with them. Parents attend a separate Family Summit that happens at the same time as the Youth Summit. Parent information is submitted with the Youth’s application.
FOR ALL OTHER QUESTIONS, FEEL FREE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO firstname.lastname@example.org