School’s Out Washington is now accepting proposals for workshop presenters and facilitators for the 2023 Bridge Conference.

When: November 6-7
Greater Tacoma Convention Center
RFPs due by:
July 20

RFP application form

Our goal is to bring together presenters and participants of different identities, perspectives, and backgrounds from the expanded learning opportunities field. We welcome and encourage people who speak multiple languages to participate. 

We are seeking proposals that offer a high-quality and compelling workshops (e.g. clarity of title, description, style, and delivery), conference alignment and relevance (with theme and event learning objectives), and racial equity alignment. 

We will provide a balanced, diverse program including a majority of presenters identifying as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) and workshops from across Washington state, and an array of choices and topics for attendees with different roles and levels of experience and expertise. As an organization, we are exploring ways to break down barriers around language and are open to multilingual opportunities. English grammar is not part of our selection criteria. 

This year’s theme is Forging Brighter Futures – Reflect. Connect. Reimagine. We are looking for workshop proposals that help leaders and youth within programs and systems to: 

  • Understand stages of child and adolescent development (including what we know now that we didn’t know 5-10 years ago), and how to apply this knowledge to programs and systems. 
  • Align employee, program, and organizational practices with values. 
  • Cultivate community care for youth and youth workers. 
  • Incorporate practices that support our humanity, from how to heal and manage grief to how to celebrate and play together. 
  • Lead an individual, organization, or system through transformational change. 
  • Create or grow new programs in collaboration with others, within an environment of support. 
  • Communicate about the strengths of the expanded learning opportunities field and the critical role we play in supporting youth and families to policy makers, government agencies, and the public. 
  • Reflect on our biases while learning and unlearning how to create more holistic and supportive environments for young people. 

We look forward to reviewing your proposal and thank you for your commitment to the field! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the process for submitting a Workshop Proposal?

The list below is designed to support you through the RFP application process. We recommend following the steps outlined below:  

  1. Review the Frequently Asked Questions below. 
  2. Review the PDF of the Workshop Proposal Form before completing the form. 
  3. Sign up for SOWA emails to receive announcements
  4. If you would like support with the RFP application or workshop development, please make an appointment for RFP Application/Workshop Development via this booking form. 
  5. Complete and submit the RFP using this form. 

Q: What are some important dates in the proposal process?

  • The Request for Workshop Proposals is being released on May 30, 2023.
  • The deadline for proposal submissions is July 20, 2023. 
  • All applicants will be notified of the status of their proposal by August 25, 2023. 
  • If selected to present, you will be required to confirm your plans to present by September 6, 2023. 
  • If selected, we require all presenters to attend a virtual Presenter Orientation Meeting during the week of October 9 13
  • The Bridge Conference will take place November 6-7, 2023 at Greater Tacoma Convention Center and Marriott Tacoma Downtown in Tacoma, WA. 

Q: What are some benefits of presenting at the Bridge Conference?

  • Share your expertise with leaders in the expanded learning opportunity field from Washington State and beyond 
  • Opportunity for professional development via our offer up to 2 complimentary registration (value of $600) to each presenting team selected through the RFP
  • Promotion of your session and organization through social media and our public-facing Conference agenda on Sched 
  • Share your contact information with attendees who may be interested in inviting you to share your expertise with their own organizations 
  • Receive workshop survey feedback to support your development as a presenter, with the potential for a testimonial 
  • Opportunity to join our list of potential trainers for paid contracts with School’s Out Washington 

Q: How can I prepare a workshop that aligns with the Bridge Conference?

Please review the event description and learning objectives.  

2023 Bridge Conference: Forging Brighter Futures – Reflect. Connect. Reimagine. November 6-7

SOWA’s annual Bridge Conference brings together youth program professionals, community leaders and organizers, funders, and policymakers from across the country. Many of our attendees work in grassroots youth programs with limited resources. For those attendees, Bridge serves as an important connection to the broader youth development field, relationship building, and knowledge to help them sustain and grow their impact. Reflected in all aspects of Bridge are the values of equity, belonging, leadership, nourishment, change, innovation, and community. Our conference actively centers diverse BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) voices and youth program providers throughout the event and planning process.  

When gathered, our attendees and presenters work toward a collective vision of more equitable systems for young people that includes community care, best practices, and advocacy. 

We gather to: 

  • Learn how to implement tangible practices that promote high-quality programs and an equitable expanded learning ecosystem
  • Identify and address the ways that racial inequities impact youth, expanded learning opportunities, and educational outcomes
  • Highlight strengths and inequities in programs and systems and begin to strategize how to co-create stronger partnerships across sectors.
  • Experience belonging and personal/professional nourishment through social connection and networking. 

Q: What is this year’s Bridge theme?

2023 EVENT THEME: FORGING BRIGHTER FUTURESReflect. Connect. Reimagine.

We have often heard that there is a “brighter future,” but what does that mean and how do we get there? For young people, that future is dependent on our collaborative effort to make change. At this year’s Bridge Conference, we will:

  • Reflect on our biases while learning and unlearning how to create more holistic and supportive environments for young people. 
  • Connect to build our collective power and hold space for restoration.  
  • Reimagine our systems and create a foundation for a stronger youth development field. 

Together we will forge ahead in our pursuit of more sustainable systems that elevate and empower young people and their communities. 

Q: What are examples of past workshop titles and descriptions?

Q: What are examples of topics that would fit into each of the Conference Strands?

  • Race and EquityWhile we are seeking sessions across all strands that incorporate race and equity, this strand is focused on sessions where topics of race and/or equity are the focus. Examples include the intersections of race and _____ (e.g. class, disabilities, access to food and housing, adultism, racial literacy, white privilege, structural racism, social justice, or sex, gender, gender identity, or supporting specific populations such as immigrant and refugee youth and families).
  • Youth Development ProgrammingWhat do high-quality afterschool and summer programs for youth, especially low-income youth and youth of color, look like? What practices, curriculum, and environments will provide the opportunities youth deserve in order to thrive? Examples include cultural responsivenesssocial and emotional learning, trauma-informed and restorative practices, STEM, sense of belonging, relationshipsidentity development, creativity, safety and wellness, youth leadership and engagement, and program development.
  • Capacity and Systems BuildingWhat does it look like to invest in our staff and our field? How do we strengthen the formal systems (policies, institutional practices, and funding) and the informal and cultural systems (communities of practice, beliefs, and youth and family voice) to advance equity? Examples include practice and policy change that promote racial equity within organizations; staff and volunteer development; leadership and management practicesfundraisingworkforce developmentAdvocacy; research and evaluation; assessment, planning, and improvement; and connections between family, school, and community.
  • Emerging Issues: What does the future of youth development look like? How do we reimagine our education and youth development systems to build an equitable expanded learning opportunity system for all? Examples include youth activism, creative or restorative justice, youth voice, aligning actions with organizational values, or shared power in cross-sector partnerships. 
  • Multi-Sector Partnerships & Collaboration: What does it look like to build strong partnerships in youth development and education that last over time? What types of partnerships, and the way the people and organizations within them work together, help us build a more equitable expanded learning opportunity system? Examples include sharing power in cross-sector partnerships, managing the effects of turnover in partnership relationships, authentic partnerships with youth and families, applying community centric fundraising principles, and seeking funding for cross-sector partnerships. 

Q: What times are available to present a workshop?

When submitting a proposal, we will ask you to indicate which days you are available to present at the conference. Because there are a limited number of workshops in each Period, your availability may influence our decision-making as we finalize our menu of workshops. Please note that there is only one period when 135-minute sessions will be offered (Period D). 

  • Monday, November 6, 10:15 -11:45 AM PST (90-minute session), Workshop Period A 
  • Monday, November 6, 1:15-2:15 PM PST (60-minute session), Workshop Period B 
  • Monday, November 6, 2:30-3:30 PM PST (60-minute session), Workshop Period C 
  • Monday, November 6, 1:15-3:30 PM PST (135-minute session), Workshop Period D 
  • Tuesday, November 7, 9-10:30 AM PST (90-minute session), Workshop Period E 
  • Tuesday, November 7, 10:50 AM-12:20 PM PST (90-minute session), Workshop Period F 
  • Tuesday, November 7, 2:15-3:45 PM PST (90-minute session), Workshop Period G 

Q: How many people can I expect in my session and what will the room layout be?

The maximum number of people per room will vary, from about 32 to 80. We cannot estimate exactly how many people to expect in your assigned room, as so many factors influence how many people choose each session. Rooms may be set up with round tables or school room or theatre style.

Q: What is the workshop selection criteria?

SOWA will prioritize the following criteria in the workshop selection process: high quality and compelling workshop (e.g. clarity of title, description, style and delivery), conference alignment and relevance (with theme and event learning objectives), racial equity alignment, and providing a balanced, diverse program including a majority of presenters identifying as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color and workshops from across Washington state, and an array of choices and topics for attendees with different roles and levels of experience and expertise. English grammar is not part of our criteria.   

Q: What are SOWA’s expectations of Presenters?

Required Presenter Orientation: If selected, all presenters are required to attend the Presenter Orientation meeting via Zoom on one of the following days/times:   

  • 10/10/23, 4:30-6:00 PM PST 
  • 10/13/23, 10-11:30 AM PST 

Room Host & Pre-Workshop Check-In: Presenters must arrive 30 minutes prior to their workshop start time, check in at registration, and check in with the room host at the assigned room at least 20 minutes prior to session start time.  

Complimentary Registration: We encourage you to attend the rest of the Bridge Conference and offer up to 2 complimentary registration (value of $600) to each presenting team selected through the RFP. Co- presenters are welcome to purchase a ticket if they wish to attend. If you are selected, you will receive information about how to register as a presenter and we strongly encourage you to register at that time in order to reserve your spot.  

Products: We encourage you to share free resources, tools, curriculum, etc. in your workshop session. If you are interested in promoting a product or service that is not free or widely available to the public, we offer you the opportunity to become a sponsor or exhibitor for Bridge. Please see our current Bridge website for more information.

Photos & Video: School’s Out Washington may take photos and video of the 2023 Bridge Conference, including speakers, attendees, and other activities to use in marketing and other materials. Conference attendees waive any rights and any claims regarding the taking and publishing of such photos, video, etc.  

Important Dates & Timeline:  

  • The deadline for proposal submissions is July 20, 2023.  
  • All applicants will be notified of the status of their proposal by August 25, 2023.  
  • If selected to present, you will be required to confirm your plans to present September 6, 2023. 

Q: Who can I reach out to if I have more questions?

If you have specific questions related to the workshop proposal, please email our team at or visit our Bridge website for more information.

Q: What questions do you ask in the Workshop Proposal form?

Before you complete the Proposal Form, please view this PDF to review the full list of the questions we ask.