BLACK GIRLS LEAD (BGL) is an international leadership conference for young women of color. The mission of the program is to offer girls tools and resources to become dynamic leaders, innovators, and public servants of the future.

The 2017 BLACK GIRLS LEAD Conference will be a four-day nonresidential program hosted at Barnard College, Columbia University from July 31-August 3.


  • BLACK GIRLS LEAD is a four-day nonresidential leadership conference for girls, which will take place at Barnard College/Columbia University in New York City from July 31-August 3, 2017.
  • Conference applications are due Wednesday June 7, 2017 by 11:59PM.
  • Applicants will be notified of an admission decision on June 21, 2017.
  • The program participation fee for the conference is $300 (regular price $1,500). Through the generous support of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Beverly Bond and other donors, 80% of the fee ($1,200) has been underwritten resulting in the reduced program participant fee of $300.
  • For more information please see below:

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  1. Where do I go to apply for the BLACK GIRLS LEAD Conference? You may apply for the BLACK GIRLS LEAD Conference online. Please visit www.blackgirlsrock.org/black-girls-lead or click here.
  2. Is there a PDF version of the application? Yes. All applications must be completed online via the google form, however, you may use this PDF version of the application to outline, draft and save your answers before submitting them online.
  3. What is the age eligibility to participate in the BLACK GIRLS LEAD Conference?Eligible participants are girls between ages 13-17 who are currently enrolled in grades 8–12 (public, private, parochial, home school, etc.). Graduating seniors, in the class of 2017, are not eligible to apply. Collegiate students are not eligible to apply.
  4. Is there a fee for this program? Yes. All participants must pay a fee of $300 USD.
  5. Is there an application fee? No. There is not a fee for the application.
  6. When will participants be notified? Participants will be notified via e-mail on June 21, 2017.
  7. Where and when will the BLACK GIRLS LEAD Conference be hosted? The BLACK GIRLS LEAD Conference will be held at Barnard College, Columbia University in New York City from July 31-August 3.
  8. Is BLACK GIRLS LEAD an overnight conference? No. This year BLACK GIRLS LEAD is a nonresidential conference. Anyone who lives out of state, but wishes to participate is responsible for securing her own housing.
  9. Do you provide housing for participants, parents, guardians, group leaders, etc?No. We are not providing housing for participants, parents, guardians, group leaders, or other adults who are traveling to New York City with the program participants. However we can suggest alternative housing options that are nearby. Please visit the following link to see hotels that are suggested by our host site: http://www.columbia.edu/node/4613.html.
  10. Will there be supervision for the BLACK GIRLS LEAD conference participants throughout the day? Yes. The conference site is managed by highly qualified BLACK GIRLS LEAD staff. All members of the BGL team are screened and trained to provide quality care for admitted participants. In addition to campus security, BLACK GIRLS LEAD staff, counselors and volunteers are stationed throughout on campus during program hours.
  11. Are parents permitted to attend the conference? No. Parents are not permitted to attend the conference. The conference is for admitted participants only.
  12. Do parents need to drop off and pick up the participant? Yes. In the best interest of safety for all conference attendees, parents/guardians are asked to escort their children to and from the BGL registration site daily. Parents/guardians must sign their children in and out of the conference each day. A conference staff person will be available between 8:30am and 9:00 am to greet your family as you sign your child in. We strongly encourage you to drop-off no later than 9:00 am and pick up no later than 6:00pm unless otherwise advised. Once the day’s activities have begun, the conference participants and BGL staff will be located throughout Barnard College and may not be readily available for sign-in. Conference attendees are not permitted to leave BGL Conference with anyone, but their parents/guardian, unless the office has written notice on file granting permission.
  13. What programs and activities are offered at the BLACK GIRLS LEAD Conference?The action-packed forward-thinking BLACK GIRLS LEAD Conference features workshops, master classes, lectures and empowerment panels on media and cultural literacy, business, entrepreneurship, arts, social action, technology, financial literacy, and more. The conference will educate, affirm, support and empower girls who desire to become trailblazers of our future.
  14. I am experiencing technical difficulties while filling out the online application. Who should I contact to get support? Please email blackgirlslead@blackgirlsrock.org. Please place in the subject line: BLACK GIRLS LEAD Application - Technical Difficulties.
  15. I am having difficulties uploading my video blog. Who should I contact to get support? If you are experiencing technical difficulties uploading video blog to the application form, please upload your video to vimeo. Then, place the link (and password if applicable) into a word document. Finally, upload the word document in the video's place. If you continue to have difficulty, please notify the BGL team and plan to submit your application via ground mail or e-mail in entirety. If you elect to e-mail your application, please send it to blackgirlslead@blackgirlsrock.org.
  16. A brief overview of the BLACK GIRLS LEAD curricular modules:
  • Art-based enrichment programs
  • Cultural immersion
  • Critical media literacy courses
  • Technology and innovation workshop
  • Academic enrichment + college prep
  • Leadership development initiatives
  • Sisterhood + team building activities
  • Life Skills training + empowerment panels

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  • How do I apply to be a counselor/intern at the BLACK GIRLS LEAD Conference?BLACK GIRLS LEAD counselors and interns must meet the following requirements:
  • Currently enrolled in college or graduate school
  • At least 21 years old
  • Authorized to work in the United States
  • Successfully pass a background check
  • Be or become certified in first aid and adult CPR
  • Submit all application materials by June 7, 2017
  • Complete the full intern/volunteer application.
  • To apply for the counselor position: Complete the BLACK GIRLS ROCK intern/volunteer application and submit it by June 7, 2017 with your cover letter and resume. Also submit a video blog outlining your professional qualifications and what you hope to contribute to and/or gain from working with the BLACK GIRLS LEAD Conference.
  • What is the role of the Counselor? The main role of a counselor is to support the BLACK GIRLS LEAD conference participants, staff, instructors, and guest speakers. Counselors and staff work together to assure that the conference runs smoothly and participants benefit from a dynamic, rigorous, fun, and safe environment.
  • If you have any more questions please send us an email at blackgirlslead@blackgirlsrock.org.