Youth Leadership Polk - Inspiring Young LEADers 

Youth Leadership Polk was piloted for a second year in the summer of 2018. This student engagement program is designed to instill students with a sense of belonging, support social and emotional development, explore potential careers, and expand their knowledge of Polk County.



Following a favorable pilot in the summer of 2017, Polk Vision convened a group of cross-sector leaders to serve as a Council. This group is committed to the development of a comprehensive and sustainable Youth Leadership Polk program. This past year, with expert assistance from Dr. John Diaz and staff from the University of Florida/IFAS, the Council established outcomes, curriculum, key measures, and evaluation methods, field trip locations and agendas. The Council is in the process of assessing the results of this year’s program and already preparing for Class 3.


Youth Leadership Polk Class II was comprised of 8th through 12th-grade students convened in day-long sessions, once a week for seven weeks. The partnership with Girls Inc. of Lakeland and Bartow continued with services extended to students from Winter  Haven, Haines City, and Lake Wales through a new partnership with Citrus Center Boys & Girls Club.


Participants learned components of environmental responsibility,  government and public policy, history and culture, community health, and public safety while expanding their academic knowledge. Dedicated business leaders from across the county,  many of them Leadership Polk graduates, volunteered as guest speakers, facility hosts, and curriculum instructors. Instruction was expanded to include Junior Achievement® instruction modules covering essential employability skills such as teamwork, critical thinking and effective communication.