Youth Academy2018-08-30T15:38:47-06:00

Introducing SPARK Youth Academy

This valley-wide 6-month program for high school students will launch in October 2018. It is an incredible personal/professional learning experience with 40+ hours of training that will prepare participants not only for college, but for the real world.

What it includes:

  • Six, half-day sessions with facilitators specializing in various leadership topics
  • Capstone small-group project

Program goals and outcomes:

  • Personal and professional development
  • Build confidence, motivation and of course leadership skills
  • Develop social/emotional skills they aren’t taught in school
  • Create a sense of personal efficacy
  • Self-reflection – Ability to analyze his or her own strengths and weaknesses
  • Effect social change – make an impact on the community
  • Work with students from a variety of backgrounds (race, socioeconomic, etc.)

Curriculum Outline: 4-hour monthly sessions

  • October – Program Introduction: What is a leader? Emotional intelligence (EQI) testing and exploration. Answer the questions of what is EQI, how it works and how it impacts success as a leader.

  • November – Project Introduction/Selection: Utilize the process of small groups choosing their capstone project to teach multiple decision making models.

  • December – Leading Change: Learn practical skills to apply to the capstone project process as well as to organizational and community issue.

  • January – Crucial Conversations: Learn different styles of conflict resolution and ways to effectively communicate in a myriad of difficult situations.

  • February – TBD – Based on the needs identified by the principals/counselors from participating high schools.

  • March – Project Presentations and Closing: Small groups showcase the work/success/failures/impact their project produced. Entire class reflects on their leadership journey.

Capstone Project

The small-group project is a “capstone” learning experience for the class. This intentional laboratory allows participants to practice skills garnered in the program (team decision making, leading change, facilitation and conflict resolution) as well as basic business skills like leading a meeting, coordinating with various entities/people, and working collaboratively. The ultimate goal is to have them experience, first-hand, making a community impact.

Participants are split into small groups (5+) and select one of many predetermined projects. A small scope would be defined with an attainable goal for the specific time frame of the project.

Groups would work with local community organizations (for-profit or non-profit) on various projects that contribute to the overall success of the entity. There are a host of different industries or focal points. A few examples of such opportunities are below:

  • Transportation – RFTA
  • Health Care – Mountain Family Health
  • Housing – Regional Housing Authority
  • Education – Aspen School District, RE1
  • Career Development – Colorado Mountain College
  • Healthy Foods – Whole Foods


35-40 sophomores/junior students

From Glenwood Springs, Roaring Fork, Bridges, Basalt, Aspen and Yampa High Schools

  • Participants must apply for the program
  • Cost: $495, scholarships available
  • Timing: Sessions will be during school hours (8 am-12 pm)
  • Location: Rotate sessions between schools, create a volunteer carpool forum for parents
  • Program runs from mid-October to mid-March