CONFERENCES


What are MYLead conferences?


The MYLead experience is not just another boring leadership conference. MYLead conferences are the high-energy *three* day flagship programs MYLead has been hosting since 2003. Inspiring role models, high energy, personalized attention, interactive team building, and incredible peers combine to make it an unforgettable experience. 

At the conference, young leaders spend time exploring their unique leadership traits. Instead of providing a predefined set of attributes, MYLead creates space for participants to harness their strengths to be the best leader they can be.  

Recognized by past participants as a key transitional point in their leadership journey, these are well-loved, well-tested, and very effective programs. 99.9% of participants indicate they would recommend MYLead to a friend.  


At MYLead, participants can expect to:

  • Experience living and learning on a university campus for the first time.
  • Form new friendships with a diverse group of peers, each with different leadership styles and backgrounds spanning across various socioeconomic, racial, and religious backgrounds.  
  • Learn from inspiring, motivating, and captivating speakers about timeless leadership principles.
  • Engage with high-energy, positive peer role models employing leadership in their communities.
  • Build self-confidence in a positive and safe environment conducive to experiential learning.
  • Actively practice new skills during hands-on, interactive workshops.
  • Participate in fun team-building exercises, games, and energizers.
  • Engage in exploratory dialogue where individuals express their views and experiences.
  • Undertake self-reflection to unlock hidden potential and perform at a higher level.
2021-05-14T08:00:00

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The MYLead Conference!


MYLead conferences are exclusively available for high school sophomores and juniors that have been nominated by their school to attend. Over 500 young leaders in total are expected to attend from across the state in 2021. Once nominated, students can register for the dates that work best. Alternatives are:  

Conference 1: May 14-16, 2021

Conference 2: June 4-6, 2021

Conference 3: June 11-13, 2021

All participants and group volunteers are required to stay on campus and with the group, for the entire duration of the conference. No one is permitted to leave and return, for any reason. 

Understanding that this year poses unique challenges, MYLead has capped conference sizes to ensure proper health and safety protocols can be followed. MYLead has also added a virtual alternative for individuals who would still like to participate with MYLead, from the comfort of their own home. More details about the virtual summit are here.

If you have questions about MYLead, please see answers to the most frequently asked questions below.  If your questions are not addressed, email recruitment@mylead.org or leave us a message at (888) 269-4075.  One of our volunteers will be more than happy to connect.  

 I would like to attend, but I’m not sure if my school participates.  How can I get nominated?

Fill out this form.  One of our recruitment directors will reach out to you with more details.  

When and where will the conference be held?

All conferences will be held on the campus at Michigan State University. Students and volunteers will be housed in the dorms for the weekend.  Conference alternatives are:

  • Conference 1: May 14-16, 2021
  • Conference 2: June 4-6, 2021
  • Conference 3: June 11-13, 2021
Who can participate in the MYLead Conference?

The MYLead Conferences are exclusively available for high school sophomores and juniors that have been nominated by their school to attend.

I don’t know anyone else attending.  Will it be easy to meet new people?

Absolutely!  Each individual is assigned to a “homegroup” of eight to ten participants, plus 2-3 MYLead volunteers for the duration of the conference. You will be immediately introduced to your homegroup and have an opportunity to spend time together intermittently throughout the weekend.  

This small group provides a personalized, thought-provoking, and memorable home-base where you will be able to connect and engage with peers from across the state.  Many recall their homegroup time as the most powerful and impactful time for building new friendships.  

In addition to time with your homegroup, you will be able to meet leaders from other groups during structured activities, games, and energizers.  MYLead does everything it can to make meeting new people fun and easy.  

What kind of things will we be doing at the conference?

The weekend will begin with a keynote speaker.  For the next two days, participants attend a series of interactive workshops and team-building sessions where dialogue, hands-on experiences, and informal debate enhance the learning process. 

Fun exercises, games, and energizers are mixed in to keep things fun and encourage networking with peers from across the state.  Reflection time and small group discussions are used to help individuals process everything they are learning. 

On Saturday evening, there will be a talent show, where individuals are encouraged to showcase something they love to do. On Sunday, the weekend will wrap up with networking, the final keynote speaker, and discussion about opportunities after the conference.

Does MYLead promote teachings from a specific religion, political party, or way of thinking?

Absolutely not.  Volunteers are asked to refrain from encouraging any specific political party, religion, or way of thinking. Instead, we focus on providing a safe, positive, and open space where individual young leaders can express themselves without fear of judgment or intimidation.  

Is attendance really required for the full weekend?

Yes! There are no exceptions to this rule. All participants and group volunteers are required to stay on campus and with the group, for the entire duration of the conference.  They are not permitted to leave and return, for any reason. The program is designed so that each session builds on the last, which means we strictly adhere to this rule for the benefit of all participants. 

One of the reasons MYLead offers multiple weekends is so that students can select the weekend that works best for their schedule after taking into consideration college prep tests, sports schedules, graduation, end of year performances, etc.  

Where do conference activities take place?

All conference activities take place on campus at Michigan State University.  

Programming takes place in MSU classrooms, conference facilities, and outside.  Everything is conveniently located within walking distance. 

Students and staff are housed in a dormitory designated specifically for MYLead.

Are meals included?  And what food will be available?

Nutritional breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are provided. MSU publishes its menu daily.  You are welcome to check the MSU Eat at State website to see what menu options are available at The Gallery in Snyder Phillips once on site.

MSU Dining staff is more than willing to accommodate for allergies and will provide personal tours so students know where to find foods that meet their needs. 

Attendance is mandatory at all activities, including meals.

What are the dorms like?  Will genders be separated?

MSU has many very large dormitories, staffed 24×7 by MSU staff, trained specifically to provide for the needs of youth organizations such as MYLead. 

Genders will be assigned rooms in separate areas of the building. Maintaining that separation in the residential quarters of the dorm is strictly enforced at all times, not just for sleeping. 

Each room typically has two people, while a small number of especially large rooms may house three or four. Students will be placed in rooms with one roommate at check-in unless a single room is requested during registration.  Bathrooms will be down the hall, with keys required to enter the shower area.

Each dorm area is staffed to maintain a ratio of roughly twelve minors per adult. 

Information about MSU’s Code of Conduct for conference visitors can be found here.

What is MYLead doing to protect the health and safety of participants given the unique circumstances Covid-19 has presented?

Understanding that this year poses unique challenges, MYLead has capped conference sizes to ensure proper health and safety protocols can be followed. We have also asked MSU to allow individuals to select single rooms during registration.  

All participants, volunteers, and presenters will be required to adhere to recommendations from the CDC, the State of Michigan, and our host site Michigan State University.  Protecting the health & safety of participants and our volunteers is paramount. Face coverings, social distancing, as well as proper hygiene and health practices will be required.


MYLead has also added a virtual alternative for individuals who would still like to participate with MYLead, from the comfort of their own home.  More details about the virtual summit are here.

And last, but not least, because the circumstances in Michigan will continue to evolve, MYLead will closely monitor the information available from public health experts.  If for any reason it is deemed that in-person conferences cannot take place as scheduled, MYLead will provide virtual alternatives for individuals signed up for those events. 

What should I wear at the conference?

Face coverings are required.  Comfortable walking shoes are advised because we will be walking to and from activities all weekend. On Friday, wear clothing that displays your school’s name and/or colors. On Saturday, MYLead will provide a conference t-shirt for you to wear. On Sunday, wear clothes that best display who you are as a leader. 

What should I pack?

In addition to the clothing recommendations listed in the “What should I wear?” question, you will want to bring the following: 

  • Masks and pocket-sized hand sanitizer:  Due to COVID, masks will be required for the duration of your stay. 
  • Comfortable Shoes: There is a lot of walking; please pack comfortable shoes.
  • Water Bottle: Bring a refillable water bottle to carry with you.  MSU has drinking fountains and bottle filling stations. Hydration is key when it is hot and sunny! 
  • Alarm Clock/Cell Phone:  Attendance is mandatory for all sessions, so you will want to wake up on time.  If you bring a cell phone, don’t forget your charger. 
  • Shower Supplies: MSU will provide towels.  You are welcome to use those provided or bring your own.  Pack toiletries for the shower (soap, shampoo, deodorant, etc).  Since we have community bathrooms, you may want to bring a shower caddy to carry to the bathroom.  We also recommend flip-flops for the shower. 
  • Bedding: Bring comfortable pajamas.  MSU will provide a pillow, sheets, and a blanket.   
  • Small fan (optional): Dorm rooms do not have air conditioning; you may want a small fan to keep you comfortable at night.  
  • Small Bag (optional):  Each morning when we leave our rooms, we will not be returning until later in the evening.  Many participants like to carry a small bag throughout the day to hold their notebook, water bottle, cell phone, snack, etc.
  • Talent Show: There will be a talent show on Saturday evening.  If you would like to show off your talent, bring whatever you need to perform.  
  • Medications:  If you are taking medications, don’t forget those.   They should be listed on your registration form and you will be asked to turn them in at check-in so they can be kept for you in Conference Headquarters.  MYLead will make them available for you (and only you) to take as directed throughout the weekend.
  • Most importantly: Bring enthusiasm, excitement, and an open mind!
Should I bring money to the conference?

If you signed up for early arrival or a single room, you will need to turn in money upon arrival to cover those fees.

MYLead provides a conference t-shirt completely free of change to wear on Saturday.  For those that want additional MYLead merchandise including sweatshirts, long sleeve shirts, decals, and more, they will be available for purchase.

What if transportation to or from MSU for the conference is an issue?

We can help! Please contact MYLead at recruitment@mylead.org or (888) 269-4075. We can provide names and contact information for other attendees that live near you so you can arrange to carpool with another MYLead participant.

What if my schedule changes and I need to switch the weekend I registered for, or cancel?

Email recruitment@mylead.org.  The recruitment directors can help you switch to a new weekend, or coordinate with your school so that another young leader has the opportunity to attend.

What if I need to list a new person for picking me up on Sunday?

Email recruitment@mylead.org.  The recruitment directors can help you update the registration form.  The person who is picking you up from the conference on Sunday must present a state-issued photo ID and his/her name must match the name on our check-out list before we can sign you out.  This is a safety precaution.

Where can I find the consent form I’m supposed to mail in before the conference?

A link for the consent form along with instructions is located here

As a participant, do I need to pay to attend MYLead?

MYLead works with the school, not individual students to collect payment if needed. 

MYLead fully covers the cost for at least one person nominated by every school in the state to attend in-person, free of charge to the school and the student.  We do this to ensure MYLead is accessible, no matter where someone lives or what financial circumstances they might be facing. 

If a school nominates more than one student to attend in-person, MYLead bills the school $185 for each additional student.  Each school handles processing payments differently.  Please check with the school administrator who nominated you to see if you owe anything and how payment should be handled.  

What is the best way for my parent/guardian to contact me during the conference?

Students will be asked to keep cell phones off for the majority of the conference weekend.  MYLead does not allow calls or texting during any of the programming sessions, except for designated dorm time in the evening.  Because our time together is limited, we must respect the speakers, volunteers, and all of our peers by staying present and engaged.  

In case of emergencies, parents may contact MYLead conference leadership at (888) 269-4075 or via email at questions@mylead.org. They will have an onsite conference headquarters set up to address anything that comes up.

What options are available for family members to stay in East Lansing for the weekend?

If family members would like to spend the weekend in the area, we recommend a few nearby hotels: Candlewood Suites or East Lansing Marriott.  

Conference participants will be housed in dormitories on campus.  For the safety and security of all attendees, outside visitors that have not undergone a background check are not welcome inside the residential quarters of the dorm, other than for drop-off and pick-up.

How can family members learn more about what happens at MYLead?

MYLead typically offers a family program on Sunday morning.  It usually starts around 10:30.  Family members are invited to see behind the scenes and learn about what students have been experiencing.  They then join the students for the closing ceremonies and the final keynote speaker.  

Due to COVID-19, MYLead will be switching to a virtual format for the family program this year.  More details will be made available and sent via email closer to the event.

The family program is open to all and completely free of charge.  We highly encourage folks to take part so they know how to best support their young leaders in putting the things they have learned into action once they get home. 

After the conference, how can I stay connected with MYLead?

MYLead is fully run by volunteers that are committed to the mission and values MYLead upholds. We are always looking for volunteers. If you or your family members are interested in learning more about the volunteer opportunities with MYLead, please visit our Volunteer page.

MYLead Community has a student-led board that plans social and philanthropic gatherings for MYLead alum throughout the year.  Past events have featured picnics, sport-outings, scavenger hunts, park clean-up efforts, formal galas, movie/game nights, college prep Q&As, etc.  You are welcome to attend any event, or volunteer for the community board to help plan them for others. 

Many folks choose to come back as weekend volunteers for the Summit and Conferences to provide the MYLead experience for future young leaders that attend.

The planning team takes it a step further and actually organizes weekend volunteers and puts together all the details for the big events – Conferences and Summit – from start to finish.    

The corporate board provides more senior folks an opportunity to engage their expertise in a given field.  They set the longer-term vision and strategic direction for the organization.