Youth Activation Committee
A Youth Activation Committee or (YAC) is a group of youth with and without intellectual disabilities from a school or community that work with the local or state Special Olympics program to develop strategies and organize events to build a school community where all young people are agents of change. They promote leadership in schools by advocating for Special Olympics Montana and the acceptance of all students. The Youth Activation Committee (YAC) can exist on a national, state, local community, or school level. This section will provide an insight into how to start a local or community YAC and the events and activities a YAC can create.
Starting a Youth Activation Committee:
- Determine if you will start an official school based club or a local community endeavor.
- Identify a teacher or adult leader to serve as an advisor and meet with local principals or school administration to gain approval.
- Contact local Special Olympics Montana staff to express interest in starting a school/community YAC, and see how you can contribute to their goals.
- Talk to the Special Education and General Education teachers at local schools. Ask them how many students with and without intellectual disabilities might be interested in getting involved.
- Select what initiatives the YAC are most interested in for the year and invite other interested leaders to join.
YAC Activities & Examples
Start a Unified Sports® Program
Unified Sports join together people with and without intellectual disabilities to play on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding. In Unified Sports, teams are made up of people of similar age and ability, which makes practices more fun and games more challenging and exciting for all.
- The YAC can help organize students and community members that would be interested in forming a team. Please see the Unified Sports resource page for more information.
- The YAC can help organize and host a sports day by encouraging members of the community, both with and without intellectual disabilities, to come out and test their sports skills. Set up different activity areas where people can practice their basketball shooting, soccer passing, or even try out bocce. The students on the YAC can be in charge of planning, advertising, and executing the event. This will help to boost leadership skills within the group. Check out this great resource to help students plan a sports experience day at your school.
- Spread the Message Host/Organize a Game: The YAC can assist the local or state Special Olympics by hosting a summer or regional game at a local school or community center. Members can also become part of the Games Management Team (GMT) for their local or state Special Olympics. This gives them the opportunity to use and build their leadership skills as they help to plan and execute the event.
Host an Inclusive Youth Rally
A Youth Rally is a great way to get students and community members charged up about change and motivate them to make a difference in their community. This can take place at a school or other local community center. The YAC can be in charge of planning, advertising, and executing the event.
Send YAC Members to MBI Youth Days
Special Olympics Montana and the Montana Behavioral Initiative have been partnering for the past several years to host 4 to 5 Youth Days conferences across the state every fall. We encourage students from school YACs to join their MBI peers and attend the annual conference. Registration opens in September. For more information visit: http://opi.mt.gov/Educators/Teaching-Learning/Special-Education/Montana-Behavioral-Initiative-MBI.
Plan a Youth Summit
Invite students from the local area to join the YAC in a Youth Summit that focuses on fostering inclusion and acceptance within the community. This will allow students with and without intellectual disabilities to determine how to change the attitudes and views of other students and community members. The YAC can be in charge of planning, advertising, and executing the event. Please see the Youth Summit resource page for help planning your event.
Organize or Participate in Fundraiser to Support Special Olympics
- YAC members can participate in a local Special Olympics Polar Plunge by being a Cool School. Check out the toolkit here.
- Sell MTN/Chevy Raffle tickets between November and May each year to raise money for your YAC, Unified Club, or Unified Sports Team. Learn more here or contact your local Outreach Director.
- Organize and host a unique fundraiser at your school. Examples include: hat days, Super Hero Walk, craft sales, etc.
Educate Young People - Use Get Into It® in the Classroom
Members of the Youth Activation Committee can ask teachers if they can run a Get Into It lesson during one class period. Get Into It is a set of activities that promote character education and anti-bullying themes. YAC members can pick the most relevant lessons to help foster understanding within the school. YAC members can use various Get Into It resources like Movies that Move, Get Into It Active, and online interactive games. Please visit the YAC resource page for more information on Get Into It and Movies that Move.
SOMT's State Youth Activation Committee (YAC)
ANNOUNCEMENT - 2019-2020 Student Applications Open in March 2019!!
Every spring, SOMT offers an opportunity for students to apply to join the State Youth Activation Committee. State YAC members participate in a variety of leadership activities throughout the school year. For the 2019-2020 school year, YAC Members will be asked to participate in the following:
- Attend Kickoff Conference - September 2019 (Transportation cost, meals, and lodging provided)
- Participate in 9 monthly Conference Calls - 1st Wednesday every month (computer with webcam required)
- Attend Midyear Conference - January 2020 (Transportation cost, meals, and lodging provided)
- Attend Year-end Celebration - June 2020 (Transportation cost, meals, and lodging provided)
- Attend all scheduled meetings between September 1 and June 30
- Serve as a student ambassador for Special Olympics Montana
- Learn, understand, and promote Special Olympics Montana's Unified Champion School programs
- Use knowledge developed through the YAC to lead Unified Champion School programs in your community
- Host or support a Whole School Engagement activity in your community
- Volunteer at an Area, Regional, or State Special Olympics Montana competition event
- Attend at minimum one Inclusive Youth Leadership Summit (MBI Youth Days) event
- Participate in at least one public speaking engagement to promote Unified Champion Schools and Respect
- Assist with SOMT conferences, campaigns and fundraisers
- Represent Special Olympics youth by serving on other organization committees and boards
- HAVE FUN!
Ready to apply? Just click here.
For more information, visit our official YAC page on SOMT's website