Welcome to the 2023 APRIL CONFERENCE 

Empowering Young People with Disabilities: Our Experience at EmpowHer Camp

Opal Besaw and Hannah Gallivan


Session Overview:

Two young people with disabilities, Hannah and Opal, talk about their experience at EmpowHer camp, creating projects around disability and the intersection of disaster preparedness, as well as honing their leadership skills and gaining confidence.We hope this presentation will inspire other young people to get involved in their communities and take risks that cause them to grow.


Additional Materials for This Session:


About Your Presenters:


Opal Besaw (she/her)

Opal Besaw is a disability rights activist and 19-times published author. Opal enjoys standing up for others and lending her voice to those who don’t have one. Opal is involved with many advocacy organizations on the national and state level, including the Montana Youth Leadership Forum,The Montana Special Education Advisory Panel,The Rural Youth Assembly, Summit Independent Living Center, and Disability EmpowHer Network. In her spare time, Opal enjoys writing and reading fiction and poetry, spending time with friends and family, collecting quotes, listening to music, and participating in adaptive baseball and skiing.


Hannah Gallivan (she/her)

Hannah is jamming through life to the tune of SUPERBLOOM by Mister Wives. She is proud to have completed Content Creations Lab, a virtual internship with Global Nomads, and she enjoyed being able to help make curriculum. Through EmpowHer Camp, Hannah completed a year-long project to make sure that Vermont had emergency guides and information updated to include people with service animals and make sure that they are helped in an emergency. Through her EmpowHer Camp journey she learned to be a better listener and to believe in change even when most people don’t understand the problem. Since camp she has also added modeling to the list of achievements and new hobbies with Runway of Dreams. “It was amazing to be providing more disability representation in the modeling world.” Hannah now works at an elementary after school program and is looking towards college.


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