Join the Youth Leadership Corps! The YLC is a merit-based scholarship program focused on leadership, community, service and character development. Along with your crew, you'll plan and monthly service projects September through May, living the Outward Bound value of service. There is a strong focus on bonding with your cohort and strengthening your leadership skills, which will happen as you implement feedback, plan service projects and participate on a 14-day High Sierra expedition!
YLC is completely free! You'll need transportation to different places in the Bay Area, most of which will be in San Francisco, and some gear, though we can lend most everything. Cost should not be a prohibitive factor in applying.
The application for YLC is open to local Bay Area students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors in the following school year.
"During my year in YLC, I have dug deep to develop my own rhythm and style as a wilderness leader."- Dylan E.
The application requires a letter of recommendation from someone outside of your family
Application is due Friday, March 29th.
Interviews will be conducted throughout April
"For once in my life, I wasn’t judged by what I couldn’t control - my clothes, my knowledge, etc. - but by my character." - Emma G.
The expedition will take place in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, and includes rock climbing, navigation, backcountry cooking. The school year service projects and meetings will take place in the Bay Area. The entire program is August 2024 - May 2025.
YLC spans the entire school year from August 2024 - May 2025.
Expedition: July 25 - August 7, 2024 Orientation: Sunday, June 23rd, 2024 Service Projects and Meetings
*These dates show the weekend the project will happen, but the project will only occur on either Saturday or Sunday. Exact date will be confirmed closer to the weekend.
Oct 12, 2024 Nov 9, 2024 Dec 14, 2024 Jan 18, 2025 (MLK Weekend) Feb 8th, 2025 March 8, 2025 April 12, 2025 Graduation: May 3, 2025
If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to fund access to these experiences, please contact Matt Patchell, Development Officer, at (415) 316-0571 or you can make a gift here and designate it "scholarship fund."
Youth Leadership Corps FAQs
Application Q: What is the application process like?
All potential students will need to submit a completed application, this includes:
A Letter of Intent
A Letter of Recommendation from a teacher or mentor (ex. College Advisor, Manager at work, Teacher, Youth Group Mentor).
If selected for an interview, we will contact you to schedule a time. We will reach out to give you a final answer by the end of April. If selected, you'll then begin the medical screening process with our Student Services team.
What are the merits of an applicant?
Past applicants have shown creative project ideas, dedication to building community, excellent organizational skills, timely communication, and a willingness to push themselves.
Expedition Qs: What is the solo part of the expedition?
The solo is near the end of the trip and is a time when students are separated from one another and the Instructors in order to have solitude from the group. Instructors are never more than a brief walk away from student solo sites and they will check in on students to provide water refills, administer any medication needed, clean up any cuts and scrapes that might have come from the rigors of navigating the backcountry and ultimately check on the general well-being of students.
The purpose of the solo is to reflect on course and any learnings that came up, and also to have a break from the rigors of course.
Do you need previous backpacking experience to be accepted into the YLC program?
No, no previous experience needed. You need to be excited to step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself!
Every service day will consist of the theme for the day, an organization location to work with, an intention for the group to focus on and finally a discussion topic at the end of the service day.
Service day projects are planned and designed by students in small groups (2-3 students). This group will pick a project to support. Every project will consist of a Tone Set, Service Project, and a Reflection.
Outward Bound California provides lunch on programs that occur during lunch time. If a project is in the afternoon, snacks will be provided and students will be asked to come having already eaten lunch.
Will food be provided on service days?
Yes, Outward Bound California provides lunch on programs that occur during lunch time. If a project is in the afternoon, snacks will be provided and students will be asked to come having already eaten lunch.
How many days of Service do we do?
We meet once a month from September- May. Each month we complete a service project EXCEPT for the following months:
September- Instead we will focus on Professional Development and Planning Meeting
January- Instead we will have 1 overnight camping trip in the Bay Area
May - Instead we will hold Graduation from the program.
Can a service day be anywhere in the Bay Area?
YES! Students work together to reach out to organizations around the Bay Area. We try to stick to areas easily accessible by public transit, but Outward Bound California can support with transportation if needed (ie Coastal locations, State Parks, etc)
How will I get to service projects?
Most projects are close to major public transit lines for better access for students around the Bay Area.
What skills can I gain from YLC?
The YLC instructors and mentors work with students to help them develop their understanding of what makes an effective leader by teaching SMART goal setting, collaboration, commitment to service, and problem-solving. We do this by providing opportunities to experience real-life situations that force us to rely on each other and practice assessment of a given situation.
What are the criteria for completing the program?
The requirements are as follows:
Attend orientation first in September
Complete the wilderness expedition in the High Sierras
Help plan and implement a service project for the group to participate in.
Have no more than 1 excused absence from a project (make- up service hours available)
What happens if you miss a project?
Makeup service hours will be required to meet the attendance policy.
However, we understand that life happens. If you need to miss a project for an extraneous circumstance, you’ll be responsible for notifying the YLC Coordinator prior to the project.
To encourage students to plan accordingly we send out the schedule of project dates during orientation in May.
What future opportunities will I have after this program?
Outward Bound California has a number of events throughout the year that you may be invited to come and talk about the program with donors and friends of our community.
Every student receives a letter of recommendation from Outward Bound California which students have used in college and job applications.
You’ll be a part of a larger alumni network to share ideas with and seek mentorship from each other.
You can apply to be an intern in the High Sierra or apprentice at the Ropes Course once eligible!
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