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Our History


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 19,000 students in the Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Denver area and has given over $250,000 in student scholarships. The AAYLC has a sustained and rich history that instills high standards and positive moral values in our youth.  

As the AAYLC embarks upon our 30th year, we take a moment to reflect on our past so that we can prepare for our future. Over the past three decades our community has changed, as have their interests, needs, and goals for their families. To better position ourselves to continue to serve youth and their families, we recently updated our vision, mission, and core values. We look forward to engaging with you as we collectively initiate the following:


Our Vision: Cultivate diverse student leaders to enhance the community and beyond.

Our Mission: Deliver innovative programs and experiences to enhance student empowerment in their communities and beyond.

Our Core Values: Empowerment, Knowledge, Opportunity, Growth, Connection