Youth Activation Committee (YAC)
Special Olympics Colorado Project UNIFY is driven by a youth-led activation committee representing middle school, high school, and college students across the state. Youth members work together to develop strategies to promote schools and communities where all young people are agents of change, advocating for individuals with intellectual disabilities and creating awareness about the need for a positive environment providing equal opportunities and respect to persons of all ability levels. During their time on the committee, members provide leadership to Special Olympics Colorado by participating in state, national, and global events offering advice and counsel on strategies to reach other youth, engaging in and promoting Special Olympics activities events, and networking with other youth across the globe.
Mission of Youth Activation Committees
The mission of YACs is to remove stereotypes and build friendships by encouraging youth to become leaders and provide opportunities to empower growth and success in schools and the community.
Where do the Youth Activation Committees take place?
Youth can become involved on 3 different levels of the Youth Activation Committee
1) Area/Local Level YAC
2) State Level YAC
3) SOCO College/Community Level YAC
AREA-Youth Activation Committees
3 Area YACs have been created to encourage local Project UNIFY support and youth representation throughout the state:
● Northeast Area- Contact Toni Smith- firstname.lastname@example.org
● Mile High Area- Contact Terri Barnhart- email@example.com
● Southeast Area-Contact- Karen Egan- firstname.lastname@example.org
State-Youth Activation Committee
Name: LEGOS (Leaders Empowering Growth, Opportunities and Success)
The State YAC is made up of 25 young people that serve as our elite state youth leaders overseeing the Project UNIFY initiatives that take place across Colorado in their schools and communities, routinely sharing resources and ideas with Area YAC members. State level members serve as liaisons between SOCO and local programs.
SOCO College/Transition Committee
A youth committee designed for students graduating from high school to join a network of students who support Special Olympics Colorado and Project UNIFY initiatives and desire to continue being involved at the college/transition level by creating campus/community groups who share the common goals of enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities & building an accepting world for all
How is the committee conducted?
- Area and State YAC members participate in monthly youth-led meetings
- YAC members work under the support of SOCO/PU staff and adult area coaches
- New State and Area YAC members are recruited each school year
Youth-led Project UNIFY initiatives done by YAC members include: Spread the Word to End the Word campaign; Young Athletes mentoring/events; Fans in the Stands; Unified Sports clinics; Partner’s Clubs; Polar Plunge and Plane Pull fundraisers; Youth Leadership Summits; State Games Organizing Committees; Youth-created inclusion projects; Global Messenger Training; and Community Collaborations.