Youth Leadership

Applications are now CLOSED FOR THE 2024 COHORT

Youth Leadership (YL) is a leadership enrichment program for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors representing schools throughout our community. The curriculum builds a foundation of leadership skills, an awareness of community issues, an appreciation for diversity and a commitment to lifelong community service. Please complete the application online before October 13, 2023. 



Questions? Email Charitie


We are thankful for our program sponsor, National Fuel.


2023-2024 Day Session Schedule 

November 1, 2023 – All acceptance letters sent 
  • Acceptance/Deferral letters will be sent on a rolling basis Mid-October through November 1.
November 10, 2023 – Opening Retreat 
  • Getting to know you and your fellow Youth Leadership class
November 30, 2023 – Growing Buffalo
  • What makes a leader and how you can activate your community
December 14, 2023 – Social NetWorthing
  • Combining networking and social capitol - connect people, opportunities and ideas
January 15, 2024 – MLK Day of Service
  • Give back to your community with the Youth Leadership class
January 18, 2024 – Adulting 101 (virtual)
  • Healthy relationships, executive function and more
February 8, 2024 – Cultural Connections
  • Discover the arts, culture, tourism and history of Buffalo
March 7, 2024 – Justice for All
  • Explore how criminal and social justice work symbiotically
March 18, 2024 – Succeeding School (virtual)
  • Education after high-school - trades, military, college and more 
April 11, 2024 – Career Coaching
  • Resumes, interviews and elevator speeches
May 16, 2024 – Project Pitch
  • Taking what we've learned this year and applying it to solve real world problems
June 13, 2024 - Graduation
  • A time to dress up and celebrate your hard work this year

Exploring What Matters

Students meet once a month to explore Buffalo in an educational way to increase appreciation and awareness of our community.

We focus on topics such as economic development, social justice, arts and cultures, diversity and entrepreneurship.

Developing Leaders

YL targets a diverse group of students who have leadership potential but who may or may not have had experience in positions of leadership within their schools.

Public, private and charter schools are represented by a group of 40 students each year. This program values diversity and aspires to include as many different high schools as possible.

Being a Better Leader

The program environment is a non-traditional form of learning. The city is our "classroom".

Throughout the year, we perform leadership development trainings in various topics including, team building, diversity, business ethics and social etiquette. The year focuses on Servant Leadership traits and relies on experiential learning.

Giving Back

Students are exposed to the multiple service based organizations in our area. Throughout the year, students will learn about ways they can provide assistance in our community, and take action to create a better Buffalo.  

Program Information

Opening Retreat

Youth Leadership begins with an Opening Retreat held in November. This retreat will provide the foundation for the year-long Youth Leadership program. The retreat is also designed to create a team atmosphere amongst the participants. The opening retreat is mandatory,  transportation is not provided.

Day Sessions

Students will meet monthly, both in-person and virtually.  These sessions introduce participants to a variety of community issues and professional development lessons. Each session will include interacting with community leaders pertaining to the day session topic allowing students to have meaningful discussion and provide ideas on how they can address these issues.

Parent and Student Orientation

A program orientation for parents and selected students will be held virtually in early November. 


The program tuition is $750. Thanks to local funding, we are able to provide a limited number of scholarships. Please complete the scholarship request form in addition to the application for consideration. Scholarship requests are confidential and not considered during the selection process. Please contact Charitie Bruning at 716-849-2626 x12 or for more scholarship information.