On January 16, 1993, the first African American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC) was held at the Hillside Community Center, Colorado Springs. It was sponsored by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, INC.
The AAYLC was limited to young African American males in grades 6 - 12 and was presented from a male minority point of view. The AAYLC was the first of its kind in Colorado Springs and the focus was on: social problems affecting black youth, the importance of an education along with various educational programs and initiatives and the examination of Black History. There were approximately 175 male students in attendance.
This AAYLC was so successful and well received by the community that it was expanded the following year, 1994, to include females in grades 6 – 12. At that time, Colorado College became the first major partner of the Conference by providing both funding and its facilities. Colorado College, notably, has remained as a major partner since 1994. The AAYLC is now host to approximately 600 students of all ethnicities annually in March on the campus of Colorado College.
Because of the educational development and community outreach focus, the AAYLC has grown in magnitude since its inception and serves as a program supported by corporate, civic, academic, religious, fraternal, social organizations and individuals in the community. It is totally organized and implemented by community volunteers. To date, the AAYLC has hosted over 14,000 students in the Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Denver area and has given over $240,000 in student scholarships. The AAYLC has a sustained and rich history that instills high standards and positive moral values in our youth.
The African American Youth Leadership Conference’s original mission, which began over 25 years ago, remains the same. Our mission is to educate, empower, and enlighten youth to become critical thinkers, responsible citizens, and embrace the traditions, histories, and cultures of their communities.