Youth Leadership Academy


The Youth Leadership Academy provides youth leadership development modeled after the Leadership Stark County Signature Program. Thirty-eight high school sophomores from 17 Stark County public and parochial school districts are enrolled beginning their sophomore year through their senior year.  It is a selection process based on the academic advisors from each high school. Two students are chosen, one male and one female based on their leadership interest, their ability to make up the time they miss in school and they must have a 3.0 or above.

The Youth Leadership Academy addresses issues defined in the Strengthening Stark Report published by the Stark Community Foundation and current relevant topics that present throughout the year. The Youth Leadership Academy tackles issues of the responsibility to take action, regional collaboration, job preparation, educational attainment, workforce retention, and the power of the individual and collaborative group to initiate community transformation.

The Youth Leadership Academy uses experiential learning to achieve the outcomes. Leadership development consists of building proficiency in the six LSC competencies: Strategic Agility, Innovation & Technology, Collaboration, Service to Others, Effective Communication, and Relationship Building.

The Gallup CliftonStrengths for Students assessment, designed for use with high school and college students, is used to provide students with an evaluation of their areas of personal strengths and tools to build upon them for life success.

Students in the program have already shown outcomes such as:

  • Becoming more knowledgeable about and show an increased interest in positively impacting the community.
  • Demonstrating higher levels of engagement in and connection to the community.
  • Are more aware of their personal strengths and know how to use them to become more self-aware and self-accepting and be a better team member and effective leader.
  • Have an increased likelihood of continuing to live and work in Stark County and be a contributing member of the community as an adult.

YLA II is for juniors who participated in YLA I. Meeting four times through the school year, YLA II builds on the concepts learned in YLA and will include student-led community building projects, visits to regional universities with an emphasis on what assets those universities have in our community.

Based on student surveys and conversations, a YLA III was added the past year for our outgoing seniors. They will meet twice throughout the year focusing on the community, collaboration and a project of their design.

The goal for the three programs is to connect, engage and inform those selected students that Stark County may be an option to work, live and play in the future.