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, empowering, enriching and safe experience for self-advocates (individuals with DS) age 15 and older.
With the support of NDSC’s Youth & Adults Support Team, this conference is planned and presented by self-advocates, for self-advocates.
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 entertainment and music, as well as introductions to the Y&A Support Team, the Self-Advocate Council (SAC) and nominees running for the NDSC Board of Directors.
Saturday is filled with opportunities for self-advocates to learn, share, and participate. The day begins at 8:00am and ends at 5:15pm. There is a break at noon for attendees to meet up with their families for lunch. The day includes NDSC Board of Director Elections, Workshops, Presentations, Empower Hour and Open Mic Sessions.
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 participation form after completing their conference registration. The day begins at 8:00am and ends at 12:15pm. A mid-morning brunch is provided to all attendees and volunteers.
- Agenda, Workshops and Presenters
Proposals are being accepted for speakers at the Y&A conference. If you would like to be a workshop presenter or speaker please submit your proposal. Click on this link for the proposal form.
- Registering for Y&A Conference
REGISTRATION OR YOUTH & ADULTS CONFERENCE will open in April 2016.
To attend, self-advocates must register specifically for the Conference, by checking the box for Y&A Conference and completing the necessary questions during Convention registration.
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.
It’s also important to note that we often reach our capacity for Y&A attendance prior to the registration deadline and must close registration at that time.
- Be a part of the Y&A Conference Memory Book
- The Memory Book is like a yearbook for the Y&A Convention Attendees. 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, two sentences you would like to share about yourself, and a picture. This form will be available after registration opens.
- Perform at the Annual Talent Show!
We are looking for musicians, actors, singers, poets, dancers, comediennes, martial artists and magicians to perform for the best audience in the world. Be a part of our Sunday morning entertainment by submitting your information to our panel of scouts and reserving your moment on stage. Solo performances can be up to two minutes long, but well-planned group numbers have more time to shine. Get some friends together and act out a movie scene or put on some costumes and show your mad Guitar Hero skills. (Please bring what you can for props or costumes; we will have a piano if needed.) To perform in the talent show you must complete the talent show form. This form will be available after registration opens in April 2016.
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. The nomination form is due no later than May 27, 2016. Financial support is available for self-advocate directors to attend the two annual board meetings held each year. The nomination form will be available after registration opens in April 2016.
- Be a Self-Advocate Council Delegate
The Self-Advocate Council (SAC) invites delegates from local Down syndrome organizations to the Self-Advocate Council meeting at the NDSC Convention on Friday, July 22 at 11am. Affiliates may nominate one or two Delegates from your local group.
- The goal of this meeting is to:
- Involve a more diverse group of self-advocates in SAC activities
- Be more effective sharing ideas and projects with local groups
- Empower individuals through experience
Meeting notes will be emailed to delegates and their local board contacts. There are no responsibilities with the SAC after the meeting. Affiliates can utilize a delegate’s experience by asking him/her to make a presentation to local Board or membership, support a local project initiated by a self-advocate, promote opportunities within their communities, etc.
Once registered, a SAC Delegate coordinator will contact the delegate about the meeting location. The form will be available after registration opens in April 2016.
- Attend the Friendship Club Open House
All individuals with DS ages 15 and older are invited to drop by the Friendship Club open house Friday, June 22 anytime between 9am – 12noon and 1:00 – 2:30pm. 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.)
- Dancing Beyond All Limits
Over the weekend we offer two dance opportunities.
The first is following our Opening Plenary Session on Friday in the Grand Saguaro Foyer and East Ballroom. 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. In the Grand Saguaro Ballroom North/South, teens and adults with DS and siblings and friends will have the opportunity to kick up their heels at their own dance.
On Saturday evening, we will host our traditional Awards Banquet. This is a ticketed event. However, immediately following the banquet, there will be an awesome opportunity for all attendees to dance the night away at the 321 Dance™! There is no ticket required for this event. Doors open at approximately 9pm.
The 321 Dance™ puts the FUN in fundraising! Rock the convention dance floor while showing your support for the NDSC and its mission. There is no cost to participate in the 321 Dance™ and everyone of all ages is invited. Begin your fundraising, create a team, join a team, or just donate.