Are you a change-maker in your community?

Plan USA’s Youth Leadership Academy will give you the tools you need to create the change you want.

Here at Plan International USA, we believe that young people are today’s leaders. Our Youth Leadership Academy is a yearlong program focused on providing global leadership and advocacy tools to young activists through training and mentorship.

We will not be accepting any applications for the 2024 YLA. The YLA will return in 2025.

To get notified when applications open, and to stay up to date on Plan’s youth programming, please email [email protected] to join our email list.


Plan USA Youth Leadership Academy in Washington, DC posing for a group photo!

What is the Plan YLA?

The Plan Youth Leadership Academy is a yearlong program designed to help young activists take their leadership to the next level.

Learn more
What will I learn from the Youth Leadership Academy with Plan USA?

What will I learn?

We’ve trained over 500 young leaders in the last 15+ years. Here’s what some of them had to say about how the YLA experience shaped them.

Hear from alums
A group photo of young people advocates | Plan International USA

Meet the mentors

As a part of your community project, you’ll be mentored by one of the members of Plan’s Youth Advisory Board. Take a moment to get to know them!

Read their bios
Photo of a Youth Leadership Academy project titled 'Equal Writes'

Your leadership project

As part of Plan’s YLA program, you’ll design and implement your own project to address the social justice issue of your choice. Here are a few examples of what past participants have done.

Read more
A young person posing in from of the UN | Plan International USA Youth Leadership Academy

After the YLA

After the yearlong YLA experience, you’ll join a network of 500+ alums and stay connected to opportunities from Plan. Wondering what recent alums are doing now?

Find out

Participating in Plan’s Youth Leadership Academy 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 leadership development project, I began working with multiple climate organizations and getting involved with politics.

Youth Leader

What alums are saying

about the YLA

89%
felt they have the ability to motivate others thanks to what they learned.
90%
learned practical and useful skills that they still use today.
93%
strongly believe that young people have a role to play in changing social norms.

About us

Plan International USA is a girls’ rights organization. Powered by supporters, we partner with adolescent girls and their communities around the world to overcome oppression and gender inequality, providing the support and resources that are unique to their needs, ensuring they achieve their full potential with dignity, opportunity and safety.

Youth Leadership Academy FAQs on Plan USA

Youth Leadership Academy FAQs

Do I need any previous experience in activism to join the YLA?

No! As long as you have an interest in becoming a change-maker in your community, and can make the commitment, the YLA will give you all the tools you need. The YLA will build your knowledge of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and gender equality issues and will lead you through the process of creating your own project related to one of these goals.

Who leads the sessions and workshops throughout the year?
Who participates in the YLA?
How does financial aid work?
What does the $500 program fee fund?
What is the application process like?
What does the schedule look like for the residential Academy in Washington?