Queer Youth Updates

A weekly e-newsletter resource for Queer/Ally Youth of Santa Cruz County. A program of the Safe Schools Project.

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Creating Change

Youth delegates Annie Hsu (top-left), Mason Franco (top-center), Chevelle Willhite (top-right), Vincent Oxenhandler (bottom-left), and Wren Reeve (bottom-right) with chaperones Celine Cuneo and Jamie Cutter, M.Ed,, and Kate Kendell, Esq., Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) at the 2018 Creating Change Conference.

Dear Queer and Ally Youth Leaders of Santa Cruz County,

The Queer Youth Task Force is proud to continue its tradition of making leadership opportunities available for local youth and we are proud to invite you to apply to the Creating Change Youth Delegate Project. The 2019 project is sponsored by Santa Cruz City Schools (SCCS) and takes place in Detroit, Michigan from January 22nd- 27th. We are delighted to support this important leadership opportunity.

The Creating Change conference is the largest annual gathering of LGBT activists, organizers, and leaders in the United States. Since 2012, Santa Cruz county school districts and organizations have sent queer youth delegates to this prestigious and important national gathering. While this is not a youth focused conference, past youth participants have testified to the power of hearing from national leaders in the LGBT community and the influence that has had on their local activism. Check out the 2017 Santa Cruz County Creating Change Youth Delegate Program short video by Rishi Lal.

The Creating Change Youth Delegate Project aims to support leadership development and community enrichment. All delegates are required to complete a service project within the year following the conference as well as participate in outreach and recruitment for the next cohort of delegates. The following are examples of potential service projects: developing a workshop for a queer youth conference, creating a bilingual parent night on LGBT issues, developing a protocol for an advocacy project like gender-neutral restroom at your school.

However, the ultimate goal of bringing youth delegates to the conference is very individual. It is to enhance queer/ally identity and develop leadership capacity by engaging youth in the broader queer community and supporting them to become active agents in their own communities.

To be eligible for Santa Cruz County Creating Change Youth Delegates you must:

  1. Be in 11th or 12th grade in 2018-2019.
  2. Have had 1-3 years of LGBT leadership experience.
  3. Have attended at least 1 local and 1 regional LGBT summit or conference.
  4. Be willing to fundraise for the trip.
  5. Be in good academic standing.
  6. Have parent/guardian permission.
  7. Participate in pre-conference meetings/workshops and post conference debrief/presentations.

Additional details and other important considerations for applicants are:

  1. Each delegate is responsible for fundraising $2,500 towards the cost of the conference. A fundraising workshop is provided to support each delegate’s efforts. Funds may be raised a number of ways: (A) appealing to local businesses and community organizations; (B) group fundraising through ticket sales, food sales, art sales, etc.; (C) speaking engagements to local service organizations; and (D) friends and family contributions.
  2. You will miss 4-5 days of school and while past delegates have made time during the conference to stay caught up with their school work, you will be very busy during the conference.
  3. You will be expected to complete a community service project. The project is self-selected, but will require follow-through on your part. A mentor for the project will be provided.
  4. At least one letter of recommendation from a teacher who can speak to two or more of the following characteristics: leadership, communication skills, organization, ability to work with others.

Application must be uploaded to the Queer Youth Task Force by 5:00 pm Monday, October 1, 2018. Finalists will be interviewed Wednesday, October 10 between 4:30 – 8:30 pm.

Click Here for the application to apply

Click Here to view Parent FAQ

Please review the entire application packet, including the checklist, deadlines, FAQ, etc. For more information or to ask any questions, please contact us via email.

We look forward to reviewing your application.


The Queer Youth Task Force

Thank you to the 2019 Santa Cruz County Creating Change Youth Delegate Program sponsoring school district!


Santa Cruz City Schools (SCCS)                        Soquel High School

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