The Youth Leadership Council program was started by California PAL back in 2002 as part of an initiative to offer more than just "athletic" based programs to PAL youth. Within the first couple of years, the program took off at many local PAL chapters and is now considered one of the primary programs that is offered to California's PAL youth.
The purpose of a Youth Leadership Council (YLC) is for youth to explore, discuss and recommend effective ways to engage themselves in the activities of their PAL/SAL or YAL chapter. Membership in the Youth Leadership Council provides kids in middle school and high school with leadership opportunities, education, new relationships and lots of fun as they work with their peers for the betterment of their PAL/SAL/YAL and their community.
The primary objective of the Youth Leadership Council program is to develop leadership skills in the members, provide support and enhance the other PAL/SAL/YAL programs that are being offered at the local chapters.
The success of the YLC program has been tremendous as many of the PAL youth over the past decade have now gone on to college and beyond. Many former YLC members have now become successful professionals in the workplace.
The goal of the Youth Leadership Council program is to:
- Instill a sense of civic pride and responsibility, develop leadership skills and enhance self-esteem.
- Involve youth in the decision making process relative to policies, programs and activities of their respective PAL/SAL
- Educate youth in the democratic process of governing their own Youth Leadership Council
- Encourage youth to volunteer in a community service program
- Improve communication between PAL/SAL Staff and youth
- Provide positive peer role models and a continuous forum to voice concerns
- Provide methods of reaching out to youth who are wanting to get involved, afraid or don't know how to take the initiative
- An alternative to juvenile crime, gang violence or drug involvement.
The membership requirements for the program include:
- Maintain a 2.5 minimum Grade Point Average
- Attending school and no negative contact with any law enforcement agency within the past six months
- Drug, alcohol and tobacco free
- Letter of recommendation from non-family member stating reason(s) why applicant would make an outstanding contribution to the Youth Leadership Council
- Perform 4-8 hours of community service per month
Involving the YLC in their community is important for healthy social development, enriched family life, and neighborhood vitality. YLC members contribute to the civic life of their communities by participating in their City Council or County Board of Supervisor meetings, supporting causes, fund raising, serving on non-profit boards and advising decision makers on issues of concern to the YLC members. Community involvement often gives members new friends and interests, a heightened sense of responsibility, improved leadership skills, increased self-esteem, and a strengthened sense of accomplishment.