Youth Leadership Academy



Youth4EIE panelists advocating for education at the United Nations.

Representatives from Plan USA, Zimbabwe, Ecuador, Lebanon and Indonesia were among the Youth4EIE panelists advocating for education at the United Nations.
Plan USA Youth Leadership Academy member Riya leads the Equal Writes project.

2022 YLA member Riya leads the Equal Writes project at her school, bringing awareness to current social justice issues through the perspective of young feminist journalists.
Youth Leadership Academy alum urges the passing of Keeping Girls in School Act on Capitol Hill.

YLA alum Victoria spoke on Capitol Hill in front of Congress members and staff to urge them to pass the Keeping Girls in School Act.

Youth Leadership Academy program


What is the Youth Leadership Academy?

Plan USA’s Youth Leadership Academy is a yearlong leadership program dedicated to training, supporting and mentoring young activists as they create change in their communities through projects connected to the U.N. sustainable development goals.

When is the YLA?

The next YLA runs from June 2023 to June 2024, beginning with remote sessions in June in preparation for the four-day residential academy in Washington, D.C. in late July. After the residential academy, YLA members will meet online monthly with Plan staff and Youth Advisory Board members to develop and implement their projects. Throughout the year, members of the YLA may participate in Plan-sponsored events such as International Day of the Girl Takeovers, webinars, campaigns and activations, just to name a few!

How much does the YLA cost?

The 2023-2024 YLA tuition is $500 for the entire year. This cost includes housing and meals during the Washington, D.C. residential academy, as well as general membership and programming for the entire year. Need-based financial aid is available as well as travel stipends, and those who apply for financial assistance are very likely to receive funding. The YLA application includes a section in which you can apply for financial aid.

Why should I participate in the YLA?

Plan USA’s YLA program is designed to provide a structure for young people to engage in activism in their community. The academy connects you with like-minded young people and provides you with mentorship throughout the year.


Here is what our alums say about the YLA:

Participating in Plan’s YLA was the single greatest catalyst I had for my political and community involvement. Before this, I was aware of social issues and strongly believed in advocating for change but wasn’t doing so myself. Through the work I did on my project, I began working with multiple climate organizations and getting involved with politics.

Youth Leadership Academy Plan USA program snapshot page, quote and image row photo depicting three people having a conversation in a lobby.

— Lizzie, YLA alum

Quick snapshot:

Program duration: June 2023- June 2024

Washington, D.C. residential academy: July 24-27 (university in Washington, D.C., exact location TBD)

Program tuition: $500 (includes Washington, D.C. housing, food and yearlong programming; need-based financial aid is available for both tuition and travel expenses). There is no fee to apply to Plan USA’s YLA program.

The application process for the 2023 YLA is now open: apply here.

Program benefits:
  • Gain expertise in designing and implementing youth-led projects.
  • Learn how to advocate for yourself and the social justice issues you care about.
  • Unpack and understand the U.N. sustainable development goals and gender inequality.
  • Develop your personal leadership style.
  • Produce a leadership project/become a leader in your community.
  • Participate in Plan’s youth programs, such as conferences, panels and Takeovers throughout the year.
  • Join a network of over 500 YLA alums around the U.S.

What we covered last year:

2022 Program agenda