Youth Leadership Academy

The goal of the Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) is to bridge the gap between today’s youth and local leaders. This program provides students from across the region the opportunity to learn about local and regional government, planning, civic engagement, professional development, and careers in the public sector. Participants will be able to meet and talk to elected officials, non-profit leaders, community activists and organizers, and more. Students will learn how communities are shaped by people, policies, and social changes and how to be involved with the many systems that shape their communities. YLA aims to provide students with helpful knowledge and skills that are a part of the ongoing process of decision making and the connection to local organizations and community  members that bring much needed change. 

The YLA launched in early 2018, under the leadership of then board chair Jay Schenirer, after the SACOG board of directors discussed the missing connection between current regional planning and the impacted youth of today’s policy decisions. After securing private funding, the SACOG board unanimously approved staff to launch the SACOG Youth Leadership Academy. SACOG partnered with the non-profit PRO Youth & Families to create and execute the program.  

The YLA has had two successful years and has connected over 80 students from across the region. We have gone through various workshops with different speakers, from Congress representatives to hands on planning workshops with urban planners, mock city councils, and more. Students have gained a better understanding of how decisions are made in their cities, who they can go to when they want to change something, and an overall better understanding of the planning field and public sector. Students leave with a new network of peers, staff, and leaders who are ready to continue their development beyond the program.


Another year of YLA is up and running
Third year of YLA launched Jan. 23, 2021

The Youth Leadership Academy has officially kicked off its third cohort, which started on January 23, 2021. The program accepted 59 students from across the six-county Sacramento region and is also welcoming back 10 peer mentors from previous years. Peer mentors are taking on more responsibility in the program by facilitating breakout sessions, helping with curriculum development, and supporting their peers. 


Youth Leadership Academy goes virtual
Adapting to a new format

April 23: Adaptability is the name of the game for the world right now, and the Youth Leadership Academy has had to do exactly that. Due to the impacts of Covid-19, SACOG and Pro Youth & Families have followed local and state orders and began working from home and cancelled all in-person sessions for the program. However, the YLA will continue virtually and will still be a place for students from across the region to connect with each other and learn about different regional and local topics that impact their communities. 


Year 1 Program Recap

The first cohort of the YLA is officially graduated. On June 15, students, staff, and families and friends  came together at the West Sacramento Community Center to see students’ final presentations and celebrate the completion of the program. 

See the links below to get a glimpse of each of the trainings: 

Training 1

Training 2

Training 3

Training 4

Training 5