Youth Leadership Academy

The Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) is for young change-makers, ages 14-18, who want to learn more about global issues and civic engagement.

The four-day program includes interactive workshops on topics such as climate change and gender equality; learning from youth advocates and influencers; and networking with other aspiring youth activists to tackle social issues on a local and global scale. The 2021 YLA will be held virtually.

At the YLA, we’ll help you:
— Develop your personal leadership style.
— Unpack and understand the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
— Learn how to advocate for yourself and the social issues you care about.
— Gain expertise in designing and implementing projects.
— Make lifelong friends with like-minded participants and members of the international development community.

After the YLA, you will become part of Plan’s national network of youth leaders, media influencers and international development experts, all of whom are committed to social impact!

You will implement your Leadership Development Plan (LDP) during the 2021/22 academic year on an SDG of your choice with help from a Plan mentor. This is a perfect opportunity to expand your skills while preparing for college and beyond. Your LDP can also be used for high capstone projects or service-learning credit. 

Join us

Apply to the 2021 YLA virtual event today!

Apply now


Program snapshot

The YLA virtual program will include a highly interactive and fun agenda that utilizes easy-to-use virtual platforms to ensure you have an engaging virtual experience.

View the program agenda
YLA Advisor Laura Brazee

Meet the staff

YLA coordinator and Youth Advisory Board member bios.

Learn more
After The YLA

After the YLA

After the YLA, you will be supported and engaged by a Plan Youth Advisory Board mentor, who will support you as you implement your LDP.

Read more

Cost to attend

Thanks to a generous donor, Plan is able to offer the YLA for free to all participants.

“My experience here at the YLA was empowering! Not only did I engage with young people and proven leaders across the U.S., but I was able to learn what it truly means to serve globally. I loved every second of it and I can’t wait to continue to be involved!”

Youth Leader

Ava, 15

YLA 2020

What alumni are

saying about the YLA

strongly agree and agree the YLA increased their confidence to advocate for issues they care about.
strongly agree and agree the YLA increased their ability to take on leadership and advocacy roles within their community.
strongly agree and agree the YLA was a good way to meet and network with other young activists and change-makers.

Leadership development

project spotlights


At this time last year, Lilie wasn’t familiar with the subject of period poverty. By October, she was the youngest and only American panelist on Kotex’s Girl Unlocked: Challenging Period Perceptions 2020 panel.
Read more

Victoria and Sierra

Following the YLA, you will get to address an issue you are passionate about in your community. Read more about what Victoria and Sierra did for their Leadership Development Project!
Read more


Following the YLA, you will get to address an issue you are passionate about in your community. Read more about what Bailey did for her Leadership Development Project!
Read more

About us

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

Learn more about us