Carlsbad launching student leader program

CARLSBAD — A collaborative effort is set to launch in September for the city’s teens.

A new leadership development program — the Carlsbad Student Leader Academy — for students was announced between the city of Carlsbad, The YouSchool, the Servant Leadership Institute, Carlsbad Unified School District and local high school staff. The Carlsbad Student Leader Academy will provide program guides and curricula to address issues affecting youth in Carlsbad and further developing emerging youth leaders through civic education and community projects.

Carlsbad residents in grades ninth through 12th attending any high school can apply online for the inaugural session of the academy. Applications are due by Aug. 1, 2016, and there is no cost to apply or participate in the program. The 10-week program will be held every Monday beginning at 6:30 p.m. for two hours at the Servant Leadership Institute, 1959 Palomar Oaks Way.

The academy will be offered three times a year with a maximum of 30 students a session; the first session is anticipated to begin Sept. 12.

“During the formation of the Carlsbad Student Leader Academy, city staff and our partners created this program based on our thoughts and opinions,” said city Management Analyst Courtney Pene. “However, to be sure we asked students about 75 students if we were on the right track. Those individualized conversations served as a great learning tool and we learned that the program needed to be adjusted for what the youth was asking for was something different.”

The program consists of three phases: first, self-awareness and self-discovery; second, self-development and gaining leadership tools; and third, a service learning, challenge-based project solution to a real-life problem in the community applying the first two phases.

Phase Three re-introduces the students to the city government and learn about various professionals working to make the city a better place to live and work. It also introduces service learning, which is a teaching and learning strategy integrating meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the experience.

The goal is to engage the youth population, recognized emerging talent and ask for their participation in future civic matters.

“It will give youth a voice and enable them to be heard,” Pene said.

This program was created and is targeted to benefit the youth of the community. The city first introduces local government to local third grade elementary students through the CityStuff program, and then our next touch with residents is through the Citizens Academy, which is targeted at the adult population. The Carlsbad Student Leader Academy is designed to reach out to students during their most pivotal point of development. This program is designed to focus on concepts like self-development, self-awareness, and to service learning.

Each organization presents a different aspect to the community, Pene said.

The city will provide the local government perspective and offer opportunities to for further engagement and participation. The YouSchool will help lead the discussion with trained guides to aid our youth in self-assessment, awareness and discovery and realize their own unique story.

The Servant Leadership Institute will assist in the service learning component as well as host the program at their Carlsbad headquarters. The Carlsbad Unified School District is a key link between program development and the youth focus groups, which was pivotal.

Students selected for the inaugural session of the Carlsbad Student Leader Academy will be notified by Aug. 19. Applications, participant guidelines and more information is available on the Carlsbad Student Leader Academy website.

“Carlsbad Student Leader Academy is an exciting collaborative and challenge-based leadership development program,” said Debbie Fountain, the city’s Housing and Neighborhood Services director. “The goal is to help emerging youth leaders consider their paths for the future and discover more about themselves and the gifts they have to offer the Carlsbad community.”

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