My name is Jennifer Yost Ortiz. I marked my seven year anniversary working for the NAD as Youth Programs Coordinator August 2007. I was fortunate to find my passion in my 20s. My passion is deaf youth leadership development.

I am enthusiastic about this blog and communicating with you about happenings within deaf youth leadership across the nation.

The goal of this blog is to keep you informed of updates and announcements pertaining to NAD Youth Programs and any deaf youth leadership opportunities. I will also share my thoughts as Youth Programs Coordinator from time to time.

NAD Youth Programs include Junior NAD, Youth Leadership Camp (YLC), Miss Deaf America (MDA) College Bowl (CoBo), NAD Leadership Training Conference (NLTC) and many other projects/events for deaf youth Americans.

I am often asked, “What is the age range for ‘youth’?” The age range within NAD Youth Programs is 13 to 30 years old.

The mission of NAD Youth Programs is to prepare young deaf Americans to become future leaders and advocates by building their self-determination.

Self-determination is a combination of attitudes and skills that lead to taking charge of person’s life by setting goals, evaluating options, making choices, and working to achieve goals.

I am also often asked, “Why does NAD need youth programs“ NAD needs Youth Programs to build future leaders of Deaf America! By having more leaders, they would be able to fight for our rights! Perhaps, they will work at the NAD in the future. Youth Programs needs NAD for role models, resources, and advocacy!

Please visit www.nad.org/youth for further information about each program.

What’s happening right now?

YLC ‘08 - We have few spots left for male campers. Please apply as soon as possible. We are also accepting camp counselor and administration positions. Deadline to apply: April 1st. The information and on-line application is on www.nad.org/ylc2008.

NLTC - We are hosting the first annual training conference specifically geared to young up-and-coming deaf leaders. The NAD Leadership Training Conference will be held April 3-5, 2008 in Austin, Texas, with the theme of Moving Forward Through Proactive Leadership. Deadline to apply is March 12th. www.nad.org/nltc.

MDA - Chelsea Tobin, Miss Deaf America is available for appearances up to July 2008. She could help you attract people to your fundraising event! She could be a great role model for your students. Get to know Chelsea by visiting www.nad.org/mdatobin.

MDAP - We are in need of Stage Manager for this exciting national competition during the NAD conference, July 7-11, 2008 in New Orleans, LA. We are also looking for judges. Please contact Jennifer at www.nad.org/contactus.

Youth Service Award - We are seeking nominations. The award will be presented to two individuals: one between the ages of 14-18 years, and the other between the ages of 19-28 years, whose dedication, vision, and leadership have made a difference in the community and the world around them. The deadline for nomination is March 14. For further information about the nominations, visit www.nad.org/2008confawards.

Have questions? Need further information? Just want to say hi? Email Jennifer at www.nad.org/contactus.