Youth Leadership Pinellas is a series of interactive days designed to educate high school teens on community resources and issues, develop an excellence in leadership, build teamwork skills, and foster involvement in community services.
Youth Leadership Pinellas (YLP) began in 1998 to mirror the adult program. Knowing that high school students could benefit from a community educational experience like the principal Leadership Pinellas program made it a natural fit. And, for one teen the experience has come full circle … in 2014, we had our first YLP graduate come back and graduate from the Leadership Pinellas adult program.
Hundreds of Pinellas County students have graduated from the program, taking valuable life lessons to college, and then into the workplace.
YLP is a seven-month program operating from October through April. Students engage in six full-day sessions, plus an orientation retreat and graduation dinner. The program is run separately from any school-sponsored program. The Pinellas County School Board has approved this program as a school-related activity and therefore does not count this as an absence, but students are required to make up all work missed in class.
During each program day, the students have the opportunity to meet community decision makers and to engage them in frank, off-the-record discussions on current issues. By coming face to face with community leaders and proactive spokesmen in these various areas, graduates of YLP are better prepared to assume leadership roles of their own.
Each year a representative group of 40 tenth, eleventh and twelfth grade students are selected to participate from high schools throughout Tampa Bay. Candidates must meet eligibility requirements, and participate in a panel interview prior to acceptance into the program.
The success of Youth Leadership Pinellas is measured by the number of graduates who involve themselves in improving the community. The program provides situations in which interested citizens may better understand community and business functions, what some of its current or impending problems are, and how they can involve themselves in finding solutions.
“Youth Leadership has made a huge difference in my life. I have come to a new level of appreciation for our county and how much really goes into making everything work together. I have made great friends and memories I won’t forget!” -Emily, Tarpon Springs High School