Youth LDA

Empower The Leader In You!

The Leadership Development Academy (LDA) is looking to empower more leaders across Rock County. This means we’re looking for the next wave of our program participants for the upcoming class of 2024-25.

A Message from the Executive Director

Jamie Karns
Jamie Karns


The Leadership Development Academy program consists of one full-day session per month for nine months of leadership training. The program also offers repeated networking opportunities with fellow program participants and more than 50 community leaders. It wraps up with a final team project that makes a lasting, positive impact on the community.

This marks our second year offering Youth LDA program, which allows up to five (5) local high school seniors to take the LDA journey alongside our adult participants.

The leaders that emerge from the LDA experience are fundamentally changed and deeply connected to our community. If you have been touched by the LDA, you know how profound this experience can be. To learn more about LDA and what our program is all about, visit our blog.

Application submissions for youth is available April 1-June 1. Application submissions for adults is April 1-June 1.

Thank you in advance for your consideration to apply for the program or recommend someone. LDA’s mission is to inspire leaders to build and strengthen our community. LDA’s vision is to be a premier leadership organization that will empower leaders to create a better place to live. I look forward to strengthening Rock County with you.

Warmest regards,

Jamie Karns
Executive Director

Applying to Y-LDA

All interested high school youth must complete all steps of our application process:

  1. Meet Requirements
  2. Fill out Application and Submit Parent and/or Guardian Consent and Letter of Recommendation
  3. Program Acceptance
  4. Background Check
  5. Parent and/or Guardian/School/Mentor Orientation
  6. Program Start

Student Participation & Eligibility Requirements

  • Students must be entering their senior year of High School, as identified and/or recognized by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction or an accredited education organization.
  • Students must be self-motivated, mature, responsible, and have good attendance.
  • Students must have parental and/or legal guardian consent as well as school approval, and be able to document this on Orientation Day.
  • Students must have reliable transportation, ensuring full access and participation as it relates to every program obligation, including full session days and project team meetings.
  • Students must apply online and submit a completed application (e.g. including one Letter of Reference from an existing district staff or faculty member and parental approval) no later than June 1, 2024.

Letter of Reference

Students who meet the above requirements may apply to the program prior to obtaining a Letter of Reference from an existing district staff or faculty member. Students who submit the application without including a letter must email their Letter of Reference to [email protected] by June 1, 2024.

Curriculum overview

Leadership Development Academy participants experience formal leadership training, extensive Real Colors development, stress management, self-awareness as a leader, enhanced networking, expanded community exposure and involvement, and team building with a final team project.

Topics covered during sessions:

  • Active Shooter Training
  • Civic Responsibilities
  • Community Awareness
  • Crisis Communication
  • Diversity Awareness
  • Economic Development
  • Fundraising
  • Image & Volunteerism
  • Introduction to Marketing & Branding
  • Networking Skills
  • Problem Solving & Decision Making
  • Project Management
  • Public Sector Leadership
  • Public Speaking
  • Real Colors Leadership Development
  • Time Management

Important dates & info

Sessions are a full day, once a month, for nine (9) months. The first week in September requires two days; one for orientation and one for a ropes course retreat.

Program history