Strong youth leadership is an investment in the future of Hastings. Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) was developed from a HHS Youth Leadership Capacity Building Grant in 2000. Former Hastings Mayor Rick Sheehy and Cindy Strasheim, both graduates of Leadership Hastings, saw a need for a continuum of community leadership from 9th-12th grade. The YLA program works to enhance the knowledge and leadership skills of area high school students by motivating and empowering them to be committed to their community.
The YLA program provides an interactive, hands-on experience in which students focus on developing leadership skills and a life-long commitment to community service. Students have the opportunity to meet with community leaders from all areas of society and learn firsthand how youth leadership can make a difference.
All of the Hastings area High Schools are included: Hastings High School, St. Cecilia High School and Adams Central High School.
What Makes a Qualified Candidate?
Approximately 25-30 students are chosen by an Advisory Committee that includes school officials and community leaders, based on their application and two referrals.
To qualify for the Youth Leadership Academy program, a student must:
- Be entering his or her 9th or 10th grade year of high school
- Demonstrate an interest in and a potential for leadership
- Show self-motivation with a willingness to contribute to the group process
- Commit the time and energy required to participate in the program
Nine Seminars (September-May)
One half day class is scheduled each month of the school year. Each meeting includes a mini session on leadership skills, team-building and community service project planning time where students interact with community leaders.
Graduation in May includes a team report of the project planned and completed during the school year. Those who have completed one year of Youth Leadership Academy can apply for a second year to be an Alumni Leader if they will be in 10th grade.
Tuition for the program: $75 – covers operational costs and some food provided
Tuition assistance is available through a scholarship program. If an applicant would like to request a scholarship, that request must be made when his/her application is submitted.
From the graduates:
The graduates of Youth Leadership Academy sum up the advantages of YLA in three words, Food, Fun, and Friendship! They cooperate with students from other schools and form lifelong friendships as well as becoming official community volunteers. 100% of the graduates say they gained more confidence in self-expression of ideas and were less afraid to interact with adults on community issues involving youth.
group dynamics, team-building, social involvement, creative challenges,
passion and energy to do things for others