Youth Leadership Training

2017 Conference on School Culture, Climate, & Positive Behavior Support

Establishing a safe school environment using a multi-tiered system of support is related to improved outcomes for all students. 

Every year we welcome teachers, administrators, school counselors, and other education professionals to hear presentations by national leaders, NH educators, youth, and community partners, plus opportunities for teams to work together and instruction on cutting-edge strategies for school improvement. 

We also host a two-day youth leadership training strand that is free for attendees. The youth strand is an opportunity for young people to learn about how to become leaders of and advocates for positive change to their school’s culture and climate.
Middle and high school students from all over New England are invited to join together to develop strategies to help create supportive, welcoming schools and communities.

This year’s youth strand will take place over two days: Thursday–Friday, August 10–11. Youth leadership training is for youth between the ages of 14–21 who are currently in school and want to learn advocacy skills and take a leadership role. Youth will participate in experiential activities that help them learn about themselves and others in order to improve cultural understanding. This strand provides opportunities for youth to connect with and learn from their peers from different schools, and have fun while being empowered to make positive change in their schools and communities.

What To Expect

Meet youth from other schools, participate in experiential learning activities, engage in collaborative decision making, and strengthen communication skills. Learn to share ideas for change with both peers and adults, and create an action plan to reach goals. Stretch your comfort zone and learn about the different experiences of others.

Your Commitment

Youth strand participants will be asked to arrive on time and stay for the duration on each of the two days of the conference.

Participants must submit a signed (if under 18, by parent/guardian) media release form prior to participating.

We ask that applicants respond to communications from conference organizers promptly in the months and weeks leading up to the event.

Application deadline:  Tuesday, June 6, 2017  |  Notification of acceptance: June 10, 2017

In order to offer this opportunity to a wide range of youth, we ask that applicants are limited to individuals age 14–21 who have not participated in this conference before, and a maximum of four youth per school district.

Apply online right here, or fill out the form in the youth brochure completely and mail, email, or fax to the UNH IOD. Be sure to include contact info for how we can reach you over the summer. We also ask for contact information of an adult such as a parent or guardian, teacher or counselor, etc.—someone who will be helping you coordinate transportation and other logistics.

Who Should Apply

Youth involved with student government, leadership roles, diversity organizations, juvenile justice systems, mantal health services, athletics, special education. Youth interested in improving school and community, overcoming adversity, learning leadership skills, understanding experiences of others.

Thursday, August 10

  • 8:00am      Check-In and Continental Breakfast
  • 8:30am      Session 1. Youth MOVE the World
  • 10:00am    BREAK
  • 10:15am    Session 2. Diverse Identities: Accepting Differences to Create an Inclusive School
  • 11:30am     LUNCH
  • 12:30pm    Session 3. Dream School
  • 2:00pm      BREAK
  • 2:15pm      Session 4: MOVE It Forward
  • 3:30pm      End of Day 1. Students are picked up.

Friday, August 11

  • 8:00am     Check-In and Continental Breakfast
  • 8:30am     Keynote Presentation: Mason Dunn, Understanding Gender Identity, Eliminating Descrimination
  • 9:45am     BREAK 
  • 10:00am   Session 5-6: Youth Leadership in Action
  • 12:00pm   LUNCH & Youth-Led Rountable Discussions
  • 2:15pm     Session 7: Building the Dream
  • 3:30pm     End of Day 2. Students are picked up.

Keynote Presentation
Mason Dunn “Understanding Gender Identity, Eliminating Discrimination”

Mason J. Dunn, JD, Executive Director, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, has been working for trans rights around the country for 12 years. In addition to his work in Massachusetts, he is an adjunct faculty member at UNH Manchester, teaching on LGBTQ media and perspectives. Prior to joining MTPC, Mason worked on trans rights in New Hampshire. Mason is a member of the NH Bar Association, and a 2012 graduate of the Daniel Webster Honors Scholars Program at the UNH School of Law.

YOUTH-LED ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS  |  Friday, August 11  |  12:15pm–2:15pm

During an extended lunch, youth strand participants will facilitate small group discussions on the issues around school culture and climate that matter to them. Drawing upon what they have learned over two days of youth leadership training, students will share their ideas about creating positive change in their schools and communities.

This is an exciting opportunity for every conference attendee to benefit by including and valuing youth voice in creating caring schools and communities.

Session Titles & Descriptions

Thursday, August 10 | 8:30am
y1. Youth MOVE the World
This session highlights the importance of youth voice and involvement in creating positive change in their communities. Participants will learn about Youth M.O.V.E. (Youth Motivating Others through Voices of Experience),  a nationwide, youth-driven membership organization that is dedicated to improving services and systems that serve youth such as mental health, juvenile justice, education, and welfare. Participants will explore individual examples of youth leaders and youth-led movements. Strategies will be introduced for how students can advocate, empower themselves, and better their communities.

Thursday, August 10 | 10:15am
y2. Diverse Identities: Accepting Differences to Create an Inclusive School
Participants will engage in experiential activities to better understand diverse life experiences and perspectives, and discuss strategies to help make their communities more welcoming and supportive to all people. 

Thursday, August 10 | 12:30pm
y3. Dream School
Participants will identiy what is working and what can be improved in their schools, discuss their vision of what caring schools and communities look like, and learn how to share thier ideas with both peers and adults to create a culture of inclusion.

Thursday, August 10 | 2:15pm
y4. MOVE It Forward
This session will focus on how to implement participants’ ideas for making positive changes in their schools and communities. Participants will identify who they need buy-in from, what resouces they can tap into, and next steps to create an action plan. Past participants have returned to their schools and formed action groups to accomplish goals such as reducing stigma and stereotypes, and bringing youth voice to school administration and staff.

Friday, August 11 | 10:00am
y5-6. Youth Leadership in Action
Participants will use skills learned on day 1 to brainstorm ideas of how to positively influence school culture and climate. Youth will begin to work as a group to develop interactive activities and/or facilitated discussion prompts to share with conference attendees over lunch.

Friday, August 11 | 2:15pm
y7. Building the Dream
This session highlights the importance of youth voice and involvement in creating positive change. Participants will learn about Youth MOVE, and explore individual examples of youth leaders and youth led movements. Strategies will be introduced for how students can advocate, empower themselves and better their communities.

This conference is a collaboration between the UNH Institute on Disability, the New Hampshire Center for Effective Behavioral Interventions and Supports (NH CEBIS) at SERESC, Strafford Learning Center, the New Hampshire Department of Education, DHHS - Bureau of Behavioral Health, NH Communities for Children (Safe Schools Healthy Children Project), Granite State Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, Youth M.O.V.E. New Hampshire, and NAMI NH.

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Date & Time

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 8:30am to 3:30pm
Friday, August 11, 2017 - 8:30am to 3:30pm

Registration Fee

Free with acceptance


SERESC Event & Conference Center
29 Commerce Drive
Bedford, NH

Event Contact

IOD Events