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 public, private, parochial and charter schools from across the region, as well as community organizations. Each program day immerses the students into regional issues, giving them the opportunity to connect and learn from community leaders, collaborate with their peers and put their leadership skills into action.
As a result of their participation:
- 91% of graduates have a better understanding of regional civic issues.
- 81% report an increase in self-management skills.
- 82% of students can look at issues from multiple angles, seek new perspectives and voices, and take meaningful action.
- 78% of students have a greater personal commitment and responsibility to the region.
Who Can Participate
Youth Leadership St. Louis is open to high school juniors at one of our partner schools or community organizations. Students are accepted into the program through their school/organization’s selection process, and each student 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 a retreat in September and ends with a graduation ceremony in April.
Throughout the year, students explore issues ranging from social responsibility and economic development to public health and diversity. Program days, held during school hours and select Saturdays, include a combination of team-building exercises, experiential learning activities, site visits/tours, and dialogue with community leaders.
Take the Next Step
Complete our 2024-25 Partner Intent to Participate Form.Sign Up