How To Participate in CGTI

Become a part of one of the largest and most acclaimed leadership conferences in the nation!

Join us July 14 - 18 at Eastern Illinois University for CGTI 2024
All applications are now open. 

Participant and Mentor Application
Volunteer Staff Application

CGTI offers opportunities for students and adults ranging from first-time participants to veteran volunteer staff members to get involved.

CGTI is a five-day youth leadership conference that takes place the third week of July each year. Participants range from 7th to 12th grade and attend each year to advance their leadership skills and prevention education while working together to create plans to better their communities. Adult mentors can attend with students to provide support, structure and guidance during the conference and throughout the school year. Participants that have graduated high school can serve as volunteer staff.

You can learn more about the different registration opportunities below!


Any youth entering 7th or 8th grade in the upcoming school year are eligible to attend CGTI. All Middle School participants will advance to the High School Participant program after 8th grade. 

Applications for CGTI 2024 are now open. Click here to register!

Any youth entering 9th-12th grade in the upcoming school year that has not previously attending CGTI are eligible for the High School Participant Program.

Applications for CGTI 2024 are now open. Click here to register!

Any participant that has attended CGTI as a High School Participant and will be entering 11th or 12th grade will apply as a PALS. PALS applicants show strong leadership qualities and are looking to take a more active leadership role at CGTI. The deadline to register as a PALS is April 30. 

Applications for CGTI 2024 are now open. Click here to register!

Any youth that have completed the PALS program and will be entering 12th grade for the upcoming school year or are 2024 graduates  will apply as Youth Staff. Youth Staff will co-facilitate Discussion Groups with a veteran Volunteer Staff, attend specialized training with the Youth Staff Advisors and are required to attend full staff training the weekend prior to CGTI. The deadline to register as a Youth Staff is April 30. 

Applications for CGTI 2024 are now open. Click here to register! 


Adult Mentors attend CGTI with a group of participants and are responsible for facilitating Action Planning Meetings. They will work with students throughout the year to assist in the implementation of the action plans created during these meetings. Mentors will also have the opportunity to attend workshops, General Sessions and network with other Mentors.

Applications for CGTI 2024 are now open. Click here to register!

Volunteer Staff is open to anyone who has graduated High School. Volunteer Staff will be responsible for co-facilitating Discussion Groups, assisting Action Planning Meetings and taking on other responsibilities throughout the conference. Volunteer Staff are required to attend staff training the weekend before the event.

Applications for CGTI 2024 can be found here! Apps close April 15. 


The VP of Programs, Ashley Webb, and the Prevention Specialist, Natalie Maggiore, work throughout the year with a Leadership Team made up of Volunteer Staff to plan for CGTI Events. The Leadership Team works in the months ahead to prepare an incredible event for participants as well as take on specific roles throughout the conference.

To be eligible for the Leadership Team, you must have served as a Volunteer Staff for a minimum of two consecutive years. Leadership Team positions are listed below.

The Care Team is composed of individuals that dedicate themselves to dealing with any behavioral or emotional concerns a participant or staff may have while at CGTI. Care Team members are available at all times during the conference.

Headquarters operates as the central hub during CGTI. Staff are responsible for daily operations of the Teen Institute, maintaining paperwork, assisting with registration, and organizing/distributing materials for group activities.

Activity Coordinators are responsible for leading activities and energizers for participants and staff. They introduce speakers and presenters, set up and run free time activities, work with Headquarters and keep our atmosphere fun and exciting throughout the event.

The Youth Staff Advisors provide advanced training to Youth Staff on group dynamics, facilitation, leadership, lesson planning, process planning, public speaking and will also provide experiential learning opportunities. Advisors work with Youth Staff to identify strengths and weaknesses and provide feedback for further skill building and growth.

PALS Advisors will provide training for youth accepted into the PALS program. Using the PALS curriculum, they will train youth on facilitation, group dynamics, problem solving, public speaking, communication, goal setting, general leadership, and will also provide experiential learning opportunities to enhance each PALS’ skills.

The Nurse’s Aid will work in tandem with our contracted nurse to ensure that all participants and staff are safe, healthy and comforted throughout the conference experience. The Nurse’s Aid will not give medical advice or medication to any conference participants, but will ensure the efficient, smooth and safe process for anyone who needs medical attention or daily medication.