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“Intense. Mind-blowing. Amazing people. Unforgettable. Life-changing. Brain fry. A moment of real growth. Nothing like it. My world of opportunities just expanded.”

These statements are common descriptions used by 10th and 11th grade students across the United States and Latin America to explain the Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session (LDZ), NHI's flagship leadership development experience.

What is the LDZ? An eight-day intensive leadership experience filled with unexpected and unplanned challenges and hurdles, the LDZ is an opportunity for young people to learn how to navigate, manage and create large organizations by taking charge of their own youth government. Since 1982, students from over 20 states and four Latin American nations have convened at one of six locations to play this leadership game of vision, influence and construction of communities of the future.

The LDZ is a competitive and  transformative experience crafted for future community leaders. Students form a cohort of 150 delegates ages 16-17 in community positions that propose, review, and adopt policies to advance the Latino community. The week-long quest covers a broad array of skills, competencies, personal growth opportunities, social relevance, and topics of national and international relevance to Latino quality of life.

This year, NHI will host four in-person LDZ programs and one digital LDZx (virtual). For more information on availability for new NHI members, please email admissions@nhimail.com or continue reading below. 

English Brochure

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The Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session (LDZ) an in-person program
LDZers enjoy the first day checking into their dorm rooms, meeting their roommates and counselors, and team building. Early the next morning, the two-day convention of student delegates begins, followed by youth government elections and a three-day legislative session. There’s typically a fun outing the second night of the legislative session, and after the students wrap up their legislative meetings, they celebrate by showcasing their talents at a cultural show. All LDZs host a college fair and college readiness discussions during the week, allowing students to meet and interact with university recruiters. On the final evening of the program, parents are invited to view the emotionally-charged LDZ awards ceremony and take pictures of their children. Afterward, students enjoy music, dancing, and socializing. On the final morning, students gather one last time to say their final goodbyes until their next NHI program.

LDZx: A Youth Governance Experience a digital/virtual program
LDZxers participate in a live virtual gaming process which includes mentoring by NHI Senior Counselors and direct interaction with highly trained faculty members who inspire each student to think deeply about their views, outlooks, and beliefs. Their primary purpose is to form policy around their ideas, all the while considering what contacts they will need to build to support passing their ideas through a legislative process. In the world of online interaction, their ability to deliver powerful messages, short sound bites, and memorable imagery will be at play throughout the program. Furthermore, networking in a digital space can present its own unique set of challenges. Whether meeting someone from a different country, presenting in a small group Zoom session, or submitting a video for consideration and review, the LDZx mimics the current world state of affairs in a digital age. Students will not only gain the invaluable lessons from the LDZ, but will increase their capacity to govern in a digital space. 


Who is eligible to apply for the LDZ?

All students are welcome to apply for the LDZ if they meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • In the 10th or 11th grade
  • Has a GPA of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale
    (88% average)

What does the admissions process look like?

  1. Complete online registration and submit a $25 registration fee.
  2. Upload a recent report card or transcript (last reporting period for 2022-2023 school year accepted)
  3. Enrollment Office reviews the application within 1-3 business days.
  4. Upon acceptance, please  pay a $150  non-refundable deposit within 10 days.
  5. Upload the completed Parent Release Form.
  6. Complete final tuition payment by assigned deadline. (flexible payment plans available).

What are the program requirements? 

All participating students must:

  • Upload a copy of their most recent report cards or transcripts upon registration
  • Read the Parent Release Policy
  • Complete and upload the Parent Release Form, which is due upon acceptance to the program
  • NHI COVID Policies


What is the cost of the LDZ and virtual LDZx?

The cost of the LDZ and LDZx is broken down into distinct fees, all of which will culminate in supplying your student with the adequate resources for a fulfilling and fun leadership experience. 

  • Application Fee - $25 (required to complete application, non-refundable)
  • LDZ Non-Refundable Deposit - $150
  • LDZ/LDZx Program Tuition - see below
    • Colorado & Texas LDZ Program Tuition - $995 (does not include the $150 deposit)
    • American LDZ Tuition (with excursion to D.C.): $1,070 (does not include the $150 deposit)
    • Virtual LDZx Program Tuition - TBD

What does the payment schedule look like?

NHI will provide details about the payment schedule upon acceptance into the program. 

NHI is committed to flexibility - that is, payment plans and fundraising tools are available to all families who request them. 

After successfully completing the program, LDZers often reflect on the experience as a space where they felt free to express themselves, their ideas, and honed their skills. They felt culturally embraced, understood, and valued. At the LDZ, they began to see themselves as playing a leadership role wherever life would take them, whether at home, in school, in a career, or in service to others. Most of all, they felt special in knowing that leadership is a life-long calling in which they will have a special role to play with NHI.


Where will the LDZ be held?

The LDZ is able to take place due to the generosity of our host institutions. The locations for in-person LDZs are as follows:

New Mexico LDZ

This program is reserved for students from New Mexico.

University of New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

June 11-18, 2023


Colorado LDZ

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, Colorado

June 18-25, 2023 


American LDZ

St. Mary's College of Maryland, the National Public Honors College
St. Mary's City, Maryland
July 9-16, 2023

Texas LDZ

A Texas college or university
July 16-23, 2023


Virtual LDZx (Online)
This experience is a virtual program, so your student will participate from home. 


The LDZ was started in 1982 in Austin, Texas, as two-day experience at the Capitol. In 1983 the program expanded to work with a statewide audience and expanded to eight days. By 1990 the program was operating in three states and today is housed at six different locations. Despite thematic shifts and content adjustments, LDZ continues to engage students in a learning maze designed for the rigors of leading large organizations. The program, Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session, is named after the first provisional Vice President of the Republic of Texas and a leader for democracy and liberty in both Mexico and the United States. However, its name is also an homage to De Zavala Park in Houston where NHI's founder and president Ernesto Nieto watched and learned from his parents who were community park directors. Values, lessons, and the overall spirit of community life at De Zavala Park back then inspired the environment and culture of the LDZ summer experience. 


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