The LiFEsports Youth Leadership Academy is dedicated to preparing college and career-ready students. This program is provided for LiFEsports Youth ages 15-18. The Youth Leadership Academy seeks to expand on the important skills taught at LiFEsports (i.e., S.E.T.S. – self-control, effort, teamwork, and social responsibility) by providing older youth with additional educational and work experiences that will help them gain the necessary skill to succeed at work and life, as well as the knowledge of what it takes to be a leader at LiFEsports and in their community.
To achieve this goal, the Youth Leadership Academy includes three phases, with the first beginning in October each year.
The Skills Academy, the first phase of the Youth Leadership Academy, consists of nine themed sessions focused on building job, career, and college readiness skills among youth participants. Each session builds on the knowledge gained from previous LiFEsports Camp participation, and expands youths’ skills in areas such as communication, problem solving, and working with others. The final session includes the LiFEsports Combine, an activity that tests the Youth Leader’s mastery of skills by working in groups to overcome problem-based learning scenarios.
- Improved college and workforce readiness skills most desired by employers and colleges including communication, problem solving, group management, teamwork and citizenship skills.
- Gained knowledge of the LiFEsports expectations of a Youth Leader.
- Enhanced self-confidence and self-motivation.
During the second phase of the Youth Leadership Academy, The Success Academy, youth participants are involved in applied work experiences. It is in this phase that youth get to test out their ability to apply the skills learned during the Skills Academy. Specifically, youth serve as assistant camp counselors, also known as Youth Leaders, at the LiFEsports summer camp, working approximately 32 hours a week for 4 weeks alongside LiFEsports camp staff. In addition, they receive on-the-job training and support in 4 group-based sessions, as well as participate in Huntington Bank financial management modules designed to improve financial literacy. Youth participants also tour the Ohio State Campus and are exposed to 25 different majors and careers through their involvement in the LiFEsports Career Day.
- Enhanced applied job readiness skills including accountability, professionalism, and time management skills.
- Demonstrate the attributes and qualities of a positive role model, youth leader, and LiFEsports staff member.
- Enhanced self-efficacy as a leader.
- Improved financial management skills (i.e., managing credit and wages, saving, financial planning).
- Increased knowledge of careers, majors, and Ohio State offerings.
During the final phase of the Youth Leadership Academy, youth participants design and implement a final culminating experience. This final culminating experience will be youth led and allow youth to demonstrate the skills needed to be successful at work, college, and in post-secondary experiences as they work together to give back to LiFEsports and their communities.
- Showcase ability to work together as one team with one common goal.
- Improve organizational skills while planning group project.
- Enhance individual’s autonomy to decipher feasible ideas for civic project.
- Demonstrate an ability to engage respectfully with diverse populations in the community.
- Communicate and listen to others to establish cohesive goals to further youth-led civic action.
- Demonstrate the ability to collaborate on community issue to achieve a civic aim.
- Provide evidence of experience and reflection on civic engagement activities.
The following graph shows a visual representation of the Youth Leaders progress over the past year. There has been an obvious increase of social skills learned during the progression of the LiFEsports Leadership Academy.