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Youth Leadership Knoxville was launched in the summer of 2014 with the intent of giving high school students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of Knoxville and develop leadership skills that will encourage and inspire them to become involved and committed to our community.

Youth Leadership class of 2017 visits with Mayor Madeline Rogero.

YLK is offered to rising juniors in Knox County schools (public, private and homeschool). A one week summer camp opens the program with monthly sessions held in August through April. Monthly sessions are held for 2-3 hours on various weeknights, with a Saturday service project in August.

Students will have the opportunity to interact with many of Knoxville’s leaders in government, business and community with the goal of developing their own personal leadership skills to benefit them individually and collectively for our schools and community.

For more information, contact Courtney Hutcheson at

Class of 2019

We are pleased to announce the selection of the following high school juniors in the youth leadership program.

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Essential FAQ’s

What is the Youth Leadership Program?

Youth Leadership is a program of Leadership Knoxville for rising high school juniors in Knox County.  Designed to inspire and encourage youth to become effective leaders in their school and community, Youth Leadership Knoxville offers a curriculum featuring team building skills and topics relevant to teens.  Students will have the opportunity to meet and engage with many of the top civic and community leaders in Knoxville including government officials and business leaders across a spectrum of industries in both the public and private sectors, including non-profits.

In addition, students will have the opportunity to meet and work with other students from across the county to develop and further relationships. If selected, all participants must enroll in HUM 2100: Leadership Development at Pellissippi State Community College. The course allows for a more formal exploration of leadership and the opportunity to earn college credit. There is no additional cost associated with the course

Who is eligible to apply?

All high school sophomores are encouraged to apply.  Because Leadership Knoxville seeks to have diversity in its’ programs, the class is open to students in both public and private schools, along with home schooled students.

What will I gain from participating?

Students will gain an understanding and appreciation of Knoxville along with a focus on the skills needed to be an effective leader in their school and community.  Topics of special interest will be discussed and experienced along with development of skills in communication, team building, and public speaking.  Relationships across other schools and the opportunity to interact and network with some of Knoxville’s leaders in business and government are a benefit of participation in this program.

What if I do not live in Knoxville?

Only students who reside or attend a school in Knox County are eligible to apply

What are the time commitments involved?

The following is an outline of the Youth Leadership program along with the requirements of attendance:

  • A one week summer camp in July, (Monday thru Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Monday attendance is mandatory, Students must attend 4 of the 5 days
  • Monthly sessions: Students are required to attend 7 of the 9 non-summer camp sessions in order to graduate.

Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

  • A teacher or guidance counselor from your school should serve as your Educator Reference
  • An employer, church official, or someone in the community who has known you for at least 3 years should be selected to serve as your Community Reference.
  • The principal or headmaster of your school will have to grant permission for you to participate by completing and submitting the Principal’s Form.

How can I best convey my thoughts and interests on the application?

  • Follow instructions carefully.
  • Submit your application materials in advance of the deadline. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.
  • Give special attention to the section on Activities, Honors, and Awards.
  • Carefully complete the essay questions with brief, thoughtful remarks.
  • Provide specific details about your leadership roles, including key responsibilities, notable accomplishments, and dates of involvement. Include a brief (4-5 word) explanation for each entry. Remember that the Selection Committee may not be familiar with an organization or the clubs in your school, so be precise.

How long should I plan to spend completing the application?

You should plan on spending at least one hour completing your portion of the application.  Please remember to give the reference forms to your Community Reference, your Educator Reference and your Principal in plenty of time for them to complete the application.

Who reviews the applications?

An anonymous Selection Committee will meet and review all applications.  In order to get a cross section of representation from across Knox County, every effort will be made to include at least two students from each high school.

What is the tuition cost? Is tuition assistance available?

Tuition for the Youth Leadership Knoxville class is $150.  Financial assistance in the form of scholarship is available.  Students must complete the form and submit it along with their application.

When will I find out if I have been awarded financial aid?

Notification of receipt of a scholarship or financial assistance will be attached along with your official acceptance letter.

How can I learn more about the Youth Leadership class?

Contact your school Principal/Headmaster, guidance counselor, teacher, or speak to someone who was a member of the previous class of Youth Leadership.  In addition, you may also contact the Program Director of the Youth Leadership program.

Our Programs

A ten-month long skills building program; Leadership Knoxville’s Flagship program offers class members the opportunity to further develop and enhance their personal leadership skills while learning more about the community, our history, opportunities and challenges.

Whether you are new to Knoxville or have lived here all your life, Introduction Knoxville will connect you with our city in dynamic ways you can’t even imagine.

The Leadership Knoxville Scholars program is an innovative approach to leadership education through community partnerships. The program targets current rising junior leaders in a cohort style model in collaboration with the University of Tennessee.

Youth Leadership Knoxville began with the intent of giving high school students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of Knoxville and develop leadership skills that will encourage and inspire them to become involved and committed to our community.

Connect Knox is a Civic Solution Lab geared towards addressing our communities most pressing issues and putting people and organizations together to create the most change.

Program Sponsors