In 2008, Dr. Kevin Walsh and the Greater Alabama Council of the Boy Scouts of America established a Youth Leadership Development Program in Alabama. The purpose of the YLDP is to provide a leadership program for deserving high school junior and seniors enrolled in one of the 70 partner schools in the Alabama. High school principals and counselors recommend students to participate in the program based on character and leadership potential.
Currently there are 100 students in the St. Clair Chapter, 100 students in the Cullman Chapter and 300 students in the Birmingham Chapter. The nine-month program meets once a month for approximately two and a half hours. The St. Clair and Cullman Chapters typically meet the first Tuesday of each month. The Birmingham Chapter meets the second Tuesday of each month.
During the meetings, participants listen to speakers chosen based upon accomplishments, leadership and character. The program also includes small group meetings where participants learn various leadership traits through discussions and activities facilitated by local college honor students. The YLDP is always looking for qualified college students to assist in the small group leadership training.
In addition to the monthly meetings, there are numerous community service projects that teach the YLDP students the importance of volunteerism and community engagement. Students are required to attend meetings and participate in community service projects in order to graduate from the YLDP.
According to one graduate of the program who is currently a student at Auburn University, YLDP helped prepare her for a successful future.
“Because of the Youth Leadership Development Program, I am the first person to go to college in my family,” said Genesis Barco. “YLDP has given me the keys to unlock my potential and begin studying to be apart of America’s future. No amount of words can truly express the amount of gratitude I have for YLDP.”
Thirteen higher education establishments support the program and offer scholarships to YLDP participants who meet certain criteria. Those establishments include Auburn University, Jefferson State Community College, Lawson State Community College, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Montevallo, Jacksonville State University, University of West Alabama, Birmingham Southern College, Wallace State Community College, Troy University, University of North Alabama, The University of Alabama and Auburn University Montgomery. Last year, the Alabama YLDP awarded over $650,000 in scholarships.
To learn more about the program and how to get involved, visit the Alabama YLDP website at http://www.alyldp.com/
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