What is Youth Conservation Leadership Institute and how does it work?
Youth Conservation Leadership Institute (YCLI) is a recognition program for students in 9th- 12th grade that focuses on volunteer service and environmental stewardship. YCLI began as an expansion of Youth Conservation Camp in an effort to keep students engaged in the environmental topics introduced at camp. YCLI offers high school students interested in environmental conservation and stewardship an opportunity to build leadership skills and connect with local mentors involved with environmental issues.
Students in 9th-12th grade may apply. Program participants are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service with a conservation focus. The hours may be done as part of a single project or a series of projects but all projects must be approved by the YCLI Program Coordinator. YCLI participants work with the YCLI Program Coordinator to come up with a project that the YCLI Participant wants to focus on. The YCLI Participants are paired with a mentor to help them with their project. Mentors can be Soil & Water Conservation Staff, Natural Resource Professional, 4-H Agent, etc.
There will be a zoom meeting at the beginning of the program to allow all participants a chance to meet and brainstorm for their projects.
The program will conclude with an awards and recognition ceremony to be held in Spring of 2022. The recognition program agenda will include time for participants to speak about their work and hear from key speakers in the conservation field.
YCLI is a unique opportunity for 9th-12th graders to receive experience and engage in networking opportunities to prepare them for future education and career paths.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
Students in 9th-12th grade with a strong interest in natural resources conservation and related fields are encouraged to apply. YCLI is open to homeschool, private and public school students. Click here for the the 2021-2022 YCLI application. Deadline to apply is Friday Oct. 1st, 2021. Please contact Bonnie.firstname.lastname@example.org if you or your student has interest and would like to discuss.
Past YCLI Projects Include:
- Building birdhouses for Warblers
- Teaching elementary students about watersheds
- Developing and Installing Trail Signage
- Litter Clean Ups
- Clothing Drive
- Education Outreach about being an Intern with the Elizabeth River Project
- Conservation Education Outreach to Elementary Students
- Stormwater Education Outreach
- Pollinator Gardens
- Soil Compaction Education & Outreach to Homeowners
What past participants have said about YCLI:
- “My favorite part was teaching others and sharing my message.”- 2019-2020 YCLI Participant
- “Being able to help my community while having support.”-2019-2020 YCLI Participant
- “My favorite part was feeling like I was helping my community.”- 2019-2020 YCLI Participant
- “Being able to present about my project to my peers from across the state and compare similarities and differences.”-2017-2018 YCLI Participant
- “I liked being able to come up with my own project about something that was important to me, as well as the sense of accomplishment at the end.”-2017-2018 YCLI Participant
- “My favorite part of the program was implementing the project I helped plan and organize. I loved being able to see my ideas become a reality and I loved seeing how my project beneficially impacted students and adults in my community.”- 2016-2017 YCLI Participant
- “Getting to make a change in the community for the better.”-2017-2018 YCLI Participant
- “This is one of the only programs in our area that allows students a one-on-one experience with people working in conservation.”- 2016-2017 YCLI Participant
- “My favorite part of the program was meeting a mentor from the SWCD. This gave me insight into the filed of conservation and a way to stay involved. ” – 2016-2017 YCLI Participant