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The Association of NYS Youth Bureau is excited to announce the dates of our Annual Youth Development Leadership Training Conference. Join us at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, 100 E Onondaga St, Syracuse, NY 13202 on November 2-3, 2023


November 2-3, 2023Marriott Syracuse Downtown

Registration Fees:

Youth Bureau Director: FREE

Subsequent YB Staff Member: $150/person

Non YB Member: $200/person

Single Day (November 2 Only): $125/person

Single Day (November 3 Only): $100/person

CLICK HERE to Register

Hotel Accommodations

A block of rooms has been secured at a discounted rate for November 1st and November 2nd.


Overnight accommodations include lunch on November 2nd and continental breakfast on November 3rd only.

Group Rate: $192/night plus tax per room

Overnight Parking Fee: $5.00/night

Reservations must be made by October 1 to guarantee the discounted group rate. Reservations made after this date may not receive the discounted rate.

Book your reservation here.

Full Conference Agenda

Thursday, November 2, 2023


10:00am – 11:30am

Early Bird Sessions

1. Battling Burnout

Jeremy Butler, Chief Administrative Officer, ICAN & Event Specialist, Grand Dynamics International (GDI)


How to care for ourselves so we can care for others.


2. Adolescent Drug Trends

Megan Walradth, Training Specialist Farnham Family Services
Jessica Wakefield, Sr. Prevention Education Specialist, Farnham Family Services

Are you curious about the current drug trends being used by adolescents?  Do you know the signs and symptoms to look for and which drugs are more popular among our youth?  This presentation aims to educate those in attendance on the commonly used drugs by adolescents while also including the most recent national findings among drug use in youth.  This presentation will also look at some risk factors associated with youth substances use and present some interventions and strategies that might help combat youth substance use.


1:30pm – 2:45pm

Concurrent Sessions

3. Damage Control for the Youth Homelessness Crisis:  Prevention Efforts and Positive Engagement in Rural/Urban Communities

Allison Anderson, Senior Caseworker, Seneca County Workforce Dev. & Youth Bureau 
Rick Alvord, RHY Coordinator, Tompkins County

An interactive discussion of challenges uniquely experienced by rural areas relating to youth homelessness. This workshop will explore methods of integrating and engaging community systems and families in prevention efforts and to positively impact the development of youth experiencing homelessness where resources are limited.

4. Sports Programming for All-Abilities                 

Greg Jaloszynski, President, 12th Rock Sports

WE AFFECT CHANGE in the lives of ALL ATHLETES including those with cognitive and developmental diagnosis. Our fitness program pushes athletes both physically and mentally. By mastering tasks and overcoming obstacles, our athletes develop the confidence they need to succeed in the sports and in life.

5. The ART of Afterschool

Michelle Durante, Director of Art, New York Edge

Suzie Masser, Visual Arts Program Manager, New York Edge 

Krystle Dawn, Performing Arts Program Manager, New York Edge 

Fatou Diouf, Artist in Residence Coordinator, New York Edge   

In this workshop we will explore how the arts play a leading role in afterschool programming and youth development. We will understand how the arts allow our youth to creatively express and use their vision and voices to foster ideas, make change and exhibit feelings in others. Our art leaders and teachers will be able to envision programming that fosters a healthy community and how to model and build effective leaders through the arts. We will explore how to create a safe space for artists to pioneer their way through their work and gain a deeper understanding of how social emotional learning can be utilized in the after-school setting within the arts. Activities we engage in will help establish guiding principles necessary for effective art learning and how art builds positive change in communities.


6. A.I. and The Community of Change Framework for Student, Parent & Community Engagement   

Sandra Johnson-Fields, Director of Professional Development, Kenyatta Funderburk, Executive Director, Community Change, Inc./Career Visions, NY/Professor

Explore the power of A.I. in fostering community change at our upcoming workshop.  The Community Change Framework is a proven method for project-based, interest-based, student, parent, and community engagement.  Professor A.I. Teacher Pai is a cutting-edge platform that uses Artificial Intelligence to craft tailored educational experiences.  Experience firsthand how Professor A.I.’s Teacher Pai seamlessly merges Artificial Intelligence with the Community Change Framework, creating a unique platform for boosting student and parent engagement.  Don’t miss out.

7. Elevate, Empower, Excel: Revolutionizing Youth Services with Technology

Lea Bogle, President & CEO, Premier Wireless Business Technology Solutions, Inc.

We invite you to a compelling talk that explores the dynamic intersection of technology and youth empowerment. In a rapidly evolving world, where digital tools play an ever-increasing role, we'll delve into how technology is revolutionizing support systems for youth development, addressing the challenges faced by homeless and runaway youth, and reshaping juvenile justice.


At the core of our discussion lies the profound impact technology can have on the lives of young people. As we navigate the complexities of youth development, it becomes evident that technology is not merely enhancing but fundamentally transforming our efforts. Innovative applications of technology are fostering self-esteem, equipping young individuals with essential life skills, and accelerating their personal and professional growth.


We'll shed light on groundbreaking digital tools and platforms that provide essential support, resources, and outreach to homeless and runaway youth. These technologies are instrumental in helping disconnected youth reintegrate into society, offering them stability and hope for the future.


Discover how tech-driven approaches prioritize rehabilitation over punitive measures, implement diversion programs, and strive for better outcomes for youth involved in the justice system.


We'll explore case studies that demonstrate the real-world impact of tech-enhanced interventions and their potential for scalability and sustainability.


In a world where technology shapes the way we live, communicate, and learn, its role in the lives of young people cannot be underestimated. This talk is your opportunity to engage in a thought-provoking discussion about how technology can be harnessed as a powerful force for positive change in the lives of our youth. Together, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for the next generation, empowering them to overcome challenges and build brighter futures. Don't miss this chance to be part of a movement that is redefining youth support and justice through technology. Join us for a deep dive into the digital frontier of youth empowerment and justice reform.

3:00pm – 4:15pm

Concurrent Sessions

8. We Are Family: How to Effectively Integrate Family Participation and Engagement into the After-School Model

Kevin Richtback, Multi-Site Program Supervisor, NIA Community Services Network 

NIA Program Directors, NIA Community Services Network 


In this workshop, after-school professionals will examine different strategies to incorporate parents and guardians into the after-school model.


9. Accomplishing Big Things with Volunteers    

Greg Jaloszynski, President, 12th Rock Sports

How to utilize a volunteer force to run quality programming year-round.  Learn to establish ways to recruit quality volunteers that understand that their work ties to the mission, and vision of the organization.  Learn a few techniques to train your volunteers quickly and then empower them to be creative with their role.  Look at some effective means of communicating with your volunteers, so that they stay well informed and continue to be part of your organization.

10. MINDfulness & Self-care:  Fostering Resilience with your Youth  

Ralph Labianca, Director of Sports & Wellness, New York Edge  

Michelle Durante, Director of Art, New York Edge  

Suzie Masser, Visual Arts Program Manager, New York Edge  

Teaching & learning = HARD WORK!  Self-care is a simple (or not so simple) task of taking time and space to attend to your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.  Breathing and moving mindfully are just a few of the MANY ways we as individuals, and as a community, can relax and refill our stores of energy and creativity.  Let’s take time to investigate these methods and incorporate them in to your lessons to support your student’s well-being.  Together we will explore how sports and arts activity can aid in Physical and Emotional Health:  Stress Management for Youth.  Exercise is the most important part of a plan to manage stress as is expression through creativity.


11. Youth’s Hidden Addiction?  The Increasing Infusion of Gambling in Gaming

Stelianos Canallatos, Prevention Manager, New York Council on Problem Gambling 

Gambling in video games, on mobile devices and using credit or cryptocurrency, is increasing gambling access and providing youth with nearly infinite, easily accessible opportunities to gamble. The earlier onset of gambling, and its associated comorbidities of tobacco use, alcohol and other drug abuse needs to be addressed. We need to get ahead of the curve before this increased access leads to a crisis.  This training will provide necessary background information and a minimum of 3 actionable steps; some of which can be easily applied to our current workload and personal responsibilities.  This presentation will cover:  The infusion of gambling in gaming.  Gambling onset and comorbidities.  Gambling and brain development.  Tech advancements and access.  Hidden but emerging digital gambling trends.  Media, norms, and cultural shift supporting youth gambling.  Consequences of youth gambling.  Preventative measures that can be taken.

12. Living in Virtual Reality

Jeremy Butler, Chief Administrative Officer, ICAN & Event Specialist, Grand Dynamics International (GDI)

The impact of social media on Mental Health.

Dinner on Your Own

Friday, November 3, 2023


10:15am - 11:30am

Concurrent Sessions


12. High-Achieving Schools Connote Risks for Adolescents: Evidence-based Directions for Intervention Supplemented by My Mental Health Journey                   
Rick Yang, Youth Mental Health Advocate, Scarsdale High School      

In my journey with mental health at a high-achieving school, deemed "at-risk" by the National Academies of Sciences, I faced large pressure to succeed. Students like me, silently struggling, are overlooked due to stigma. Thus, I advocate for four evidence-based interventions: social-emotional learning, community psychoeducation, universal mental health screenings, and wellness centers, forming a support system that addresses the overlooked needs of students in high-pressure environments.

13. RP Circles - a community relationship building tool                                         
Gregg Scheiner, Restorative Practices Trainer/Outreach Coordinator, LIDRC-EAC Network

Circles are a versatile Restorative Practice communication process that develops communication and problem-solving skills. The Circle process allows all participants to have a voice and to be heard (Pranis 2008) as they collaboratively develop deeper understanding and create a solution to an issue being presented. You will participate in an abbreviated circle and will be provided with a handout on the stages of circles and being a circle keeper.


14. Grandpas United             
Dr. Jim Isenberg, Co-Founder Grandpas United, White Plains Youth Bureau

Grandpas United is a nationally recognized intergenerational mentoring program in its fifth year of operation under the auspices of the White Plains Youth Bureau. The program provides services in White Plains, New Rochelle, Port Chester, Peekskill and Ossining. The program provides a range of services and opportunities to youth including mentoring, college and career readiness, vocational and employment training opportunities, recreation, fatherhood workshops, leadership development, academic assistance, civic engagement and youth diversion activities. The mission of Grandpas United is to utilize the talents, skills and experiences of grandpas to improve the community; provide boys and young men with mentoring and intergenerational activities that support their positive development in school and in the community through one-on-one and group relationships.

15. I propose a research presentation titled "working on a title.”
Angel Gray, Westchester Children’s Association

This presentation will delve into the interconnectedness of youth advocacy and youth development, providing participants with a toolkit for addressing social issues, understanding diverse perspectives, and crafting persuasive arguments rooted in critical thinking. These skills empower effective communication, enable resilience in the face of opposition, aid in strategic planning, and instill a sense of empowerment and agency in youth. Moreover, they foster lifelong learning and engaged citizenship. Ultimately, advocacy skills, supported by critical thinking, serve as foundational components of civic advocacy and engagement, preparing young advocates to effect substantial change and mold them into knowledgeable and socially conscious leaders of tomorrow.

16. From Chaos to Calm:  Unleash the Stress-Relieving Power of STOP & FLOW!  
Kristin Onderdonk, Owner, Creator of STOP & FLOW, Enjoy Chi

Join Kristin Onderdonk, owner of Enjoy Chi and Creator of STOP & FLOW, for an interactive journey that will leave you feeling calm, hopeful, and recharged. Experience a holistic process that addresses trauma, reduces stress, and fosters personal growth. Feel the transformative power of STOP & FLOW for yourself. Discover how STOP & FLOW's innovative techniques, including energy healing, moving meditation, emotional acupuncture, vagal nerve breathing, and positive visualization, are changing lives across all stages of addiction recovery. Learn about Enjoy Chi's mission to enhance individual and collective well-being and the progress made at Crouse Health, a leading addiction treatment center in Upstate NY. Find out about the opportunities available for schools, families, and youth development organizations to join us in tackling the challenges of isolation and chronic stress in our communities today. As a special bonus, Kristin will be giving away signed copies of her book, "STOP & FLOW: 8 Steps to Recharge Your Life," to select participants. Join us for a firsthand experience of calm and empowerment in action, and after the presentation, Kristin looks forward to engaging in an enriching conversation with peers who are actively contributing to the shift from striving to thriving in our world.

10:15am - 11:30am

Concurrent Sessions

17. Nothing About Us Without Us:  Youth-Input Driven Systems of Care                                
Rick Yang, Youth Mental Health Advocate, Scarsdale High School

As a youth leader and advocate for mental health, I discuss the importance of youth-driven councils and policies in schools and communities. Drawing from research and personal experiences, I highlight successful youth-led initiatives, emphasizing the need for co-creation and collaboration between students and stakeholders. The goal is to foster systems of care that truly resonate with youth needs, making them not just beneficiaries but facilitators of change in conversations that affect them.

18. Modeling self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship to inspire youth                
Carl Jack, Program Director, Merakey-Center for Hope


Carl Jack is the program director of the Center for Hope - a youth drop-in center in Newburgh, NY. Carl's philosophy in engaging and motivating youth is to model self-sufficiency and demonstrate that youth can carve out exceptional futures for themselves by thinking outside the box and pursuing unorthodox career choices such as gardening/agriculture, furniture restoration/carpentry, and soap making. College track careers are strongly encouraged and supported but, at the same time, Carl focuses on career paths that youth can take that do not involve going to college which can lead to equally satisfying life choices and careers. A good number of the youth of Center for Hope have gone on to attend highly regarded universities such as Howard University and RPI. Some have started their own businesses while others have built solid, peaceful lives for themselves by becoming gainfully employed and enjoying stability for the first time in their lives in some cases. Newburgh is a violent, poverty-stricken city and the youth that attend the Center come from difficult backgrounds. Center for Hope provides an otherwise tranquil, beautiful setting where kids can enjoy workshops, go on field trips and receive the nurturance and guidance that they are so in need of.

19. Jumpstart for Dads: A New Virtual Skills & Support Program for New & Expectant Fathers  
Vito Sessa, MD, Volunteer - Grandpas United, Evan Caesar, Volunteer - Grandpas United


Using Grandpas United volunteers from the White Plains Youth Bureau and partnering with referring local health care providers and other community agencies, JumpStart for Dads is a virtual, preventive program designed to capture new and expectant fathers right when they are most physiologically ready to learn how to best help their children succeed. Besides describing our JumpStart for Dads program and curriculum, our presentation will review the importance of fathers and fathering to their children. It will also review the recent physiologic evidence for why a program aimed at new and expectant fathers should be successful.

20. Macro-view of the YB system; Capacity & Organizational components, Sustainability, Management, Growth & Maintenance
Dr. DaMia Madden-Harris, Executive Director, Westchester County Youth Bureau 

Dana Boylan, Executive Director, Suffolk County Youth Bureau

Description Coming Soon!

The Association of NYS Youth Bureaus invites you to be a part of the 51st Annual Youth Development Training Conference by purchasing exhibit space or becoming a sponsor. The conference, scheduled for November 2-3, 2023 at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, Syracuse, NY will attract youth development professionals, county and municipal youth bureau directors & probation/child welfare officials, educators, researchers, advocates, law enforcement personnel, not-for-profit agencies, parks and recreation professionals, and other youth development stakeholders from across New York State.


More than ever, the field of youth development continues to grow and provides valuable support in keeping our youth healthy, safe and in their homes and communities. Our participants are interested in products and services that provide and promote youth development skills which they can take back to their organizations and share with their youth, families and colleagues.


If you are interested in exhibiting or sponsoring at this exciting conference, please complete the registration form linked below by Friday, October 21, 2023.


Please do not hesitate to contact ANYSYB at with any questions

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