With gang activity and increased disconnection of youth from nuclear family relationships, community leaders have come together to build bridges between our youth and their community. These bridges cultivate and nurture the hidden leadership qualities in our youth. The result is confident students who are committed to having a positive leadership role within their schools and community.
Patterned after Leadership Salem, the two-year program introduces students to the realities, opportunities and challenges facing our region. The knowledge and experience that youth gain will impact their lives and enable them to grow and become involved in helping to shape a positive future for our community.
This is the point in life in which we decide what we want to do in the future. The Leadership Youth program has benefitted me in more ways than I can possibly imagine. It opened my eyes to all the options I have in this world, and also helped me figure out what my heart wanted me to do. Leadership Youth taught us how we can make a difference in our community, which I can use wherever I go. I also learned how to successfully communicate with those around me, which I can use for future job interviews and at social events. Leadership has given me the skills to go out and achieve my goals, and I wouldn’t trade this for anything.
Leadership Youth positively inspires, motivates, and encourages youth to take command of their future and that of their community. During the first year, youth receive a comprehensive overview of the Salem-Keizer area. Students have a unique opportunity to meet face to face with community leaders and decision makers, and receive an introduction to community resources by way of tours, panels, and speakers. Each of the nine one-day sessions focuses on a different theme: leadership, community history and culture, natural resources, business and commerce, education, human resources, legal systems, and government. The year concludes with a community project.
During the second year, youth serve on a community board while being paired with a community mentor. The formal mentor relationship helps the student become accustomed to the rules and expectations of being a community leader. As a result, the student will gain insight to community issues, needs, and challenges.
The knowledge and experience that youth gain will impact their lives and enable them to grow and become involved in helping to shape a positive future for the Salem-Keizer area.
Leadership Youth is a program under The Inspire Foundation.