In partnership with Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), PRO Youth & Families launched the Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) in early 2018. Under the leadership of former board chair, Jay Schenirer, the program grew from a discussion with the SACOG board of directors. In their discussion they agreed on the need to find the missing connection between regional planning and the youth that are impacted by policy decisions. Hence, the Youth Leadership Academy was created.
Last year marked the second successful completion of our program, in which YLA connected students from across the region. Our 2020 cohort participated in insightful, learning opportunities that demonstrated the broad lens of community development. They also engaged in various workshops, which included guest speakers from Congress, urban planners who provided hands on planning projects, mock city councils where students role played scenarios, and more.
The 2020 YLA cohort 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 roles in the public sector and planning field. Some have even returned as peer coordinators for 2021.