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Youth Leadership Jacksonville
A program of Leadership Jacksonville, Inc

What is it?

Created in 1989, this year-long program brings together a select and diverse group of high school juniors, with demonstrated leadership ability, and prepares them to become ethical leaders committed to active community involvement.

During this exciting program, students attend an Opening Retreat, six Program Days (one per month) and a Closing Retreat. Programs are practical in nature with hands-on activities. Program Days deal with specific facets of the community such as government, criminal justice, human services, diversity and business. Each day combines a behind-the-scenes experience with a great deal of interaction with the appropriate community leaders.

Who is it for?

Youth Leadership Jacksonville draws together approximately 54 students each year that have proven leadership ability and represent a cross section of Northeast Florida’s youth population. Students apply through their high school during their sophomore year and the selected students participate during their junior year.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Attend a high school in Duval, Clay, or St. Johns County accredited by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools).
  • Be a current sophomore to apply for the program that will take place in the junior year.
  • Be approved by the high school principal.
  • Demonstrate proven leadership ability in school and/or community activities.
  • Have an interest in addressing the issues confronting the First Coast communities.
  • Commit to full participation in the program.
  • Be academically sound. An average of “B” or better is recommended. The program will require students to miss seven days of class (one per month).

Program dates: August – March

Program Fee: $250 (Scholarships available)

What are the Program Goals?

  • To meet students from all areas of the First Coast Community and to develop mutual trust and respect for each other.
  • To have an increased awareness of our community needs, opportunities, problems and resources.
  • To gain a greater understanding of contemporary issues through interaction and problem solving with peers, adult leaders, and decision makers from all segments of the community.
  • To develop effective styles of leadership, communication and decision making skills.
  • To become a responsible, ethical leader committed to active community involvement.

How will the Class be Selected?

The selection process for the program takes place during the student’s sophomore year. Students participate in the program during their junior year in high school.

Students nominated by a participating high school go through a thorough selection process involving a written application and interview.

SACS accredited high schools in Baker, Clay, Duval & St. John’s counties are eligible to submit six student applications.

Students fill out the written application that is due in mid-January. Interviews take place January through March, with the class selection complete by May 1st each year.

Approximately 54 participants are selected each year that represent 39 SACS accredited schools in Baker, Clay, Duval and St. Johns counties. Each participating high school can nominate six students. Teams of Leadership Jacksonville alumni interview all candidates and select the class in the spring.

YLJ XXVII Calendar:

  • Orientation:  April 25, 2016
  • Opening Retreat:  August 26, 2016
  • Program Days:
– September 15, 2016 – “In Living Color”
– October 13, 2016 – “Leading For A Lifetime”
– November 10, 2016 – “Inside The System”
– December 1, 2016 – “Everyday Creativity”
– January 26, 2017 – “Are We Our Brothers’/Sisters’ Keeper?”
– February 16, 2017 – “Dollars & Sense”
  • Closing Retreat:  March 11, 2017


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View Youth Leadership Jacksonville Testimonials »

“The lessons I learned about life, our community and society in general are things that cannot be learned inside the classroom, but only through the many hands-on experiences YLJ provides. “

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Leadership Jacksonville absolutely ranks as one of the top ten things I’ve done in my years in this city. I’m proud to be a member.
- The Honorable
John Delaney LJ’ 86