Youth Leadership St. Louis
Founded in 1989, Youth Leadership St. Louis (YLSL) is an internationally recognized program that informs, connects, prepares and empowers St. Louis area youth to become civic and community leaders.
Each year, YLSL brings together high school juniors from approximately 30 public, private and parochial schools from across the region, as well as Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. No other program in St. Louis draws such a large and diverse group of students – 150 students representing 55 ZIP codes. Each program day immerses the students into a different issue in the region, giving them the opportunity to connect and learn from community leaders, collaborate with their peers and put their leadership skills into action.
Who Can Participate
Youth Leadership St. Louis is open to high school juniors at one of our participating schools. Students are accepted into the program through their school’s selection process, and each high school team is accompanied by a teacher/YLSL advisor who is trained by FOCUS as a leadership coach.
What to Expect
YLSL participants meet one to two times per month during the school year. The eight-month program begins with an overnight retreat in September and ends with a graduation ceremony in April.
Throughout the year, students explore issues ranging from criminal justice and health care to education and diversity. Program days, held during school hours and select weekends, include a combination of team-building exercises, experiential learning activities, site visits/tours, and dialogue with community leaders.
In addition to program days, participants conduct research projects at their individual schools, with coaching and training provided by Saint Louis University.
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