KSYLF 2020 Cancelled


This year is the 20th anniversary of the Kansas Youth Leadership Forum (KSYLF). It is a special year that we look back on so many lives changed by this empowering, important program. It is also now a year that we will never forget. We could never, in a million years, have imagined having to cancel the KSYLF. It is the highlight of so many people’s year. But, with the current COVID-19 pandemic occurring in our country, we have had to deeply and objectively think about how to proceed with this program in 2020. We have decided that the best decision is to cancel the 2020 Kansas Youth Leadership Forum. This decision will best ensure the safety and health of our youth delegates, volunteers, KYEA staff, and everyone involved.

This was not an easy decision in any way. We have considered it from every angle. First, the KSYLF is a large gathering of people in one place. Delegates and volunteers live and sleep in close quarters for the entire week. The Forum is built on people bonding, emotionally supporting each other, and connecting in the presence of a group. We dance, we hug, we gather in small groups to discuss life, we put our arms around each other as a sign of support… the KSYLF just would not be what it is with social distancing guidelines put in place. And we know that, in July, social distancing is still going to be needed and encouraged in the state of Kansas. There is no execution plan that could fully ensure the safety and health of everyone involved in this program. THAT is our absolute top priority. On a regular basis, we teach youth to prioritize their physical and mental health, along with learning how to be flexible and plan for success. KYEA strives to role model the actions that we want to see in our youth, and, because of this intention, we must practice what we preach through these extraordinary times.

With all of that said, we have made the decision to cancel this year’s KSYLF… but wait, we have some good news! First, all youth who were selected to attend this year’s KSYLF will be allowed to participate in the 2021 KSYLF to be held next July, regardless of their grade. They will also receive exclusive perks from now until next year that past delegates have not received. Also, because this technically is our 20th anniversary, KYEA is making a plan to have a virtual reunion! Alumni and past volunteers will have various opportunities to re-connect online during this reunion. So, while this year is VERY different, we feel that it is definitely a year to reflect on 20 successful Forums AND get ready for many more to come!

We know that so many people look forward to the KSYLF week. We will all feel an emptiness this summer without having this program. BUT, this is only for one year. Our hope is that the KSYLF will be back and going strong by July of next year! In the meantime, we want to thank all of you for the support that you have shown us over the last 20 years. At KYEA, we get to build the foundation for our programs, but you all help us to make that foundation possible. Thank you for believing in this program and for helping us to get to our 20th year! We look forward to empowering youth, building leaders, and changing lives for many years to come!