Brave New Voices Housing and Registration FAQs

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions concerning the housing and registration process for the Brave New Voices Festival. Please look through these if you have any questions about the process. If you do not see your question answered here, or if you have a question more specific to your team regarding registration, please email Please be aware that this page will be updated frequently.

Where is the Brave New Voices Festival being held this year? When?

The 2018 Brave New Voices Festival is happening from July 18-22, 2018 in Houston, TX. All teams must arrive on Wednesday, July 18th by 2pm and will check out by 12pm on Sunday, July 22nd.

What is the difference between the BNV application and BNV registration?

The first step to participate in the Brave New Voices Festival is to apply as an organization to participate in the Festival as either a competing or a non-competing team. Once we receive your application, we will follow up with details and your organization will become a part of the BNV Network if you are not already.

Registration consists of two parts: 1) payment and 2) forms.

While most of the festival costs are subsidized by Youth Speaks, every team attending Brave New Voices is required to pay a fee to help cover housing, food, and local transportation costs. Fees are based on a sliding scale per organizational size and level of participation in the Festival (i.e. competing teams, non-competing teams).
•Note: Individuals can not register for Brave New Voices.

Once we receive your application and we confirm your participation, each team is required to fill out registration forms for each member who will attend. Below is the information you are expected to have when filling out the registration forms for each member of your team:

  • Personal/Individual Information including basic demographic information, contact information, social media, and a photo for identification
  • Team Information including names of coach/chaperone, roommate preferences, and t-shirt size
  • Medical Information including emergency contact information, general medical history, allergies/dietary needs, and health insurance information (optional)
  • Forms to be signed: Permission form (for youth under 18), Media Release form, BNV Standards and Behavior form, Medical Consent form, and Background check (any participant over 18 including chaperones and coaches).
  • Please note that the Coaches Code of Conduct will be handed out at the mandatory Coaches Webinar, happening on a date TBD.
  • Also, all accepted team coaches and chaperones will be required to participate in a brief training required by the University of Houston, Texas on working with minors on campus. The link to this form will be shared on June 2nd or earlier.

You will not be allowed to attend the festival if these forms are not filled out. The forms are necessary both for housing and the general safety of participants during the festival.

When is payment for BNV due? How much does it cost as a competing team? As a non-competing team?

**Payment for BNV is due along with your registration forms.** Fees for competing teams are on a sliding scale based on organizational budget. These payments cover accommodations for up to 7 participants. Please note that a competing team of 7 MUST include 2 adults, however, if you would like to bring more people, you may do so at a rate of $500 per person. Competing teams may bring a MAX of 10 people. Please note that we require a coach to youth ratio of 1 to 4.

Below is what your organization will be expected to pay if you are a competing team, based on budget size:

If your organizational budget is:
$0 - $25,000 Registration Payment: $1,500
$25,001 - $50,000 Registration Payment: $1,750
$50,001 - $250,000 Registration Payment: $2,000
$250,001 - $500,000 Registration Payment: $2,250
$500,001 + Registration Payment: $2,500

Fees for non-competing teams and entourage are $500 per participant, including your adult chaperones. Non-competing teams may bring up to 5 people. Non-competing teams must abide by the same 1 to 4 coach to youth ratio.

When is registration due?

Registration, which consists of completion and submission of all forms, is due on June 1st, 2018.

I don’t have health insurance, do I need to fill out that form?

Filling out the health insurance form is not mandatory, though please note that Youth Speaks, is not responsible for any hospital fees you may incur. When filling out your forms, you may leave this section blank if you do not have insurance.

Do I have to get a background check/fingerprinting?

Our festival defines a youth as being between the ages of 13-19. However, if you are aged 18 and up, you are required to have a background check as you are considered an adult according to their policy. Send all background checks to Youth Speaks’ Administrative Assistant, Dan Anthony Angeles at

Youth Speaks is not responsible for maintaining these records beyond the Festival. Teams and individuals are responsible for keeping a copy for their own records.

Where do we get a background check?
The process is different state-to-state but the general idea is finding either an independent contractor for the background check process or see if your state/Attorney General has a way to get background checks done. We recommend searching online for background check, fingerprinting, live scan services, etc near you for the most accurate local information. Sometimes you do have to pay to get this done. You may have local offices that can assist with this as well. In addition, School-approved letters work as well. (The head of an organization or group can send a letter clearing chaperones or coaches as long as that person works for the organization and has been cleared to work with youth through a fingerprinting/ background check process with that organization. Anyone else outside will need individual background checks submitted.)

Who needs to have fingerprinting or background checks?
Anyone over 18 is required to be cleared in order to work with youths at the Brave New Voices Festival.

How long does it take to hear back from an agency about a background check?
The wait times for background checks vary from state to state, so make sure to plan accordingly and do them as early as possible.

Where do we send background check information when we receive results?
Please email all results to Dan Angeles at

What if I’m coming to the Festival from outside the country?
If you are an international participant or part of an international team who is unable to get fingerprinted but has a valid VISA, we can accept that as adequate documentation for a background check.

When is registration at BNV? What do I need to bring?

Registration/check-in is the first process you go through once you get to the Festival. Here, you will receive Festival information, wristbands for all participants, swag, keys to housing, as well as any other information necessary during your time at BNV.

There is not anything specific that you will need to bring for registration, as all of your payment and forms should be in before the festival. If there is anything you will need, we will let you know before the festival.

What if I’m arriving or leaving early/late?

We cannot guarantee accommodating a late or early arrival. It is ideal for all teams to arrive no later than 2pm on Wednesday, July 18th and leave before 12pm on Sunday, July 21st.

If there is a last minute issue, such as a flight delay, please notify Moira or Monica as well as your Future Corps Ambassador so that we can make sure to have your materials at late registration.

Suggestions for packing/preparation?

Make sure to bring comfortable shoes, clothes, and a good travel bag especially for our Community Service Day. The specifics of this year’s Community Service Day are still being determined, but participants will be informed as soon as possible how best to prepare.

Also, there is no requirement to bring dressy/nice clothes, however sometimes participants choose to dress up for the Grand Slam Finals, or the Closing Party.

You will be given water bottles and be encouraged to fill them up in your free time.

Please bring:
Any allergy medicine you may need
Comfortable Shoes
An umbrella
Bring a sweater (Indoors are air-conditioned)
Toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste etc)
Linens - TWIN XL Size Sheets (see below)

Linens - UH will not be providing linens to participants. Please plan to bring TWIN XL sheets, blankets, pillows, washcloths, towels, etc. As well as any personal items you will need for sleeping and bathing.

What are the slam rules?

You can find the full breakdown of BNV slam rules at the Brave New Voices website. Any further questions regarding slam can be directed to the Slam Coordinator.

Slam Coordinator: Devin Samuels (

What is the schedule for BNV?

For information on the festival, you can generally go to the Brave New Voices website. Please note that it is not yet up to date, but that there will be an update within the next few weeks.

I am having trouble with the BNV registration website. Who do I contact?

If you are having issues with logging into the BNV registration site, making your payment online, registering your participants, or any other problems with the website, please email Nick James at


Registration Opens - April 30th
Registration closes - May 15th
Forms due non-competing teams - June 1st
FIRM Last Changes Deadline - June 10th

Staff Contacts

Festival Co-Directors: Tish Jones ( & Brandon Santiago (
Festival Manager: Natasha Huey (
Housing and Registration: Moira Pirsch & Monica Davidson (
Slam Coordinator: Devin Samuels (
Web/Tech: Nick James (

Still have questions? email

Brave New Voices

Brave New Voices