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Youth LEADERship

The Martin Youth LEADERship program began in 1995 as a LEADERship Martin County Alumni project to promote leadership development. The make-up of the group was, and still is, a well-rounded cross section of young people that includes students who attend academically average diverse programs (AP, IB, Dual Enrollment, AICE or on-level academic programs) with little involvement in school or community activities– yet who show the potential to improve with some guidance. The “Students on the Line” project has evolved into Martin Youth LEADERship (MYL).

The current Martin Youth LEADERship program is an opportunity for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors throughout Martin County to develop and enhance their leadership skills. Students must apply and approximately 40 are selected to participate in this comprehensive eight-month program that is modeled after LEADERship Martin County. Upon completion, these Leaders have learned about their community including history, government, business, arts and culture, criminal justice and the environment. Class members are given a rare opportunity to reach their highest leadership potential through sessions focusing on Covey’s Effective Habits and other leadership enhancing activities. Every effort is made to select a racially, gender diverse class representing various levels of leadership experience.

Some of the key objectives of the MYL program are to identify and nurture young leaders, promote their awareness and involvement as community citizens, and offer programs that will allow interaction with community leaders and decision makers. Big goals, to be sure, but ones that are consistently met with each class.

Students are chosen based on criteria including a desire to reach their full leadership potential, an interest in exploring the numerous aspects of Martin County, agreeing to participate in day-long scheduled sessions, and recognizing the need for continued leadership involvement in school and community following completion of the program. All this in addition to completing an application, providing three teacher and/or community recommendations, and maintaining at least a 2.0 grade point average. Truly an astounding group of students!

Attending one of the graduation ceremonies lets one see first-hand what these students walk away with at the end of the program: feelings of pride and accomplishment, a better awareness and connection to their community, and a motivation and drive, knowing they can truly effect change. And they did it while also having fun, being creative, and developing a special camaraderie with their fellow students.

The accomplishments of these students do not happen by luck or accident. It takes the drive, dedication and commitment of the adult LEADERS, who help build and maintain the program. Martin Youth LEADERship is always seeking volunteers to assist with this distinguished program.  For more information, email Martin Youth LEADERship at

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