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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

EDGE Youth Leadership (formerly NCYLS)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Secondary & High Schools, Youth Development, Youth Development - Citizenship

Mission: Our mission is to seek out outstanding young leaders and help them develop their leadership potential, as well as encouraging them to volunteer to make an impact on their community.

Results: EDGE Youth Leadership serves an average of 150 students a year. Through a survey conducted at the start and end of the seminar, students demonstrate a 20% average increase in confidence in public speaking, ability to make a difference through volunteering, interest in service, and confidence in their own leadership skills. Participants have also demonstrated that EDGE has a lasting impact on their desire to volunteer. In a long-term survey, students indicated that EDGE was the second highest influence of their motivation to volunteer.

Target demographics: All high school sophomores, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. Because we are a free seminar, in a time of budget cuts, schools can turn to us for excellent leadership development without worrying about cost.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 160 students

Geographic areas served: California

Programs: an annual leadership seminar each spring or summer that kicks off a yearlong mentoring program (Day Four) to help students discover what they are passionate about, create an action plan and effect positive change in their schools and communities.

Community Stories

81 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i attended EDGE as a student last year and volunteered this year. Coming back was the best decision i ever made. EDGE is so impactful and it promotes such a beautiful message. EDGE has impacted so many people and i hope it continues to do so for a long long time!

gracercho

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended EDGE as a sophomore in 2011. Ever since then, I've been coming back as a volunteer...
to see all the OUTSTANDING students and staff members
to be inspired by the OUTSTANDING students and staff members
to be encouraged as leader in my community and in this world.
EDGE nurtures many messages within students, but one I take away is to give back to your community, which is something I strive to do daily. The people at EDGE have taught me of continual passion, endless possibility/potential of one person, and take cheers to the next level. It's always a pleasure and joy to be back at EDGE, having a big reunion with the family again.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at NCYLS for 2 years now and it has truly been a humbling and OUTSTANDING experience. It is like a filtered meeting arrangement for one of the best people you could ever meet. The staff and attendees are amazing! You could see, feel, and feed off of their energy the whole day. It is crazy how much energy there can be within one day. You get to witness again and again, as I always do, the power of positive and enthusiastic attitude. You also get to see how powerful it is to believe in someone. The power of one is a difference to the world. You get to understand what this sentence means when you come to NCYLS. It is truly an amazing experience you will not be able to see in a normal day.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a proud extrovert, I have never been fearful of recognition and human interaction. From a young age, I had jumped at nearly every opportunity to emcee events, introduce myself to my others, and hog the microphone during karaoke nights. It was to no surprise then, that I would thrive and find a family at a seminar called EDGE Youth Leadership. In my time volunteering with Edge Youth Leadership, I have had the opportunity of being chosen as a J-Crew with sixteen other leaders. Over the course of three days, we collectively worked to show students their potential, and provide them with resources and opportunities to achieving their goals.
Through silly team building exercises, emotional sharings of personal stories, and unique ice breakers, students left feeling inspired and ready to improve their communities - just like the I was changed my sophomore year. The interpersonal relationships I formed with my eleven students were incomparable to any relationship I’ve ever had.
At the end of the seminar, we gave them tips and resources to improve their communities in the way they pleased; we also provide a program called Day Four, where they could be paired up with a mentor. I had known that our work was effective, when students signed up for the mentorship program in hopes of improving their communities. From there, I had advised two students in their community service project endeavors.
The bond I built with my mentees, eleven students, and co-leaders is that of a family. Since, I have volunteered each year to be on the Planning Committee, and have served on the Media and Program sub-committees. EDGE is an amazing program that continues to change my life, and so many others!!

Shelby M.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first attended EDGE in 2015 as a sophomore. At that time in my life, I was going through a lot at home and I needed something positive in my life. EDGE was just that. I was scared at first, but I have now found an extended family. My three days at the seminar changed my life forever. I was so thankful for EDGE I decided to come back in 2016 as a JCrew. I wanted to help change someone's life like EDGE did mine. In 2017 I came back as a member of Screw and am currently apart of the 2018 planning committee. I am forever grateful and thankful for what EDGE has done for me, and that is why I keep coming back.

Kendra S.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended Edge (back then it was NCYLS) in 2011, and returned the following year as part of the J-Crew. When I first pulled up to the conference, I had no idea what to expect. Like most 15-year-olds, I thought I knew everything there was to know, and I presumed this would be like any old conference. Boy was I wrong. Edge is a special production, and magically captures and empowers leaders at all different points in their development. Both the shy teenagers that need a little prompting to break out of their shells and the vocal leaders in their classes have a lot to gain from this experience. It was an easy decision to return as a volunteer. This is an organization that thoroughly invests in its volunteers, management, and participants at all levels. There are boundless opportunities for growth and acceptance in this organization, and it was certainly one of the most impactful experiences I had in my teen years.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can easily say that EDGE Youth Leadership has changed my life. When I was in high school I never really thought of myself as a leader, and I didn't have a place to call home. After my weekend at EDGE I was literally a new person. I had realized that I actually was a leader and in that short amount of time, I grew so much mentally and emotionally. Ever since then, I have been a part of EDGE for 3 years now and I am so thankful and lucky that I have a place where I can call home. EDGE has been my home for the past few years now and it has also given me some of the greatest friends I know. My life wouldn't be so rich in love and friendship if I didn't get to attend EDGE my sophomore year.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Edge gave my daughter life long friends and relationships. Through her involvement and volunteering she has also gained real life skills. Edge helped my son leave his comfort zone and open his eyes to new ways to be a leader. He also plans on continuing to help other leave their comfort
Zones while making life long friends and real life skills. Edge helps bring develop unknown confidences.

John M.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

EDGE changed my daughter's life in a positive way. She has been involved for 5 years now and I know that she'll be a EDGE lifer! The friends she's made are family now.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended EDGE in 2014 and it changed my life. I spoke in front of the entirety of the seminar about my experience with hearing loss and EDGE gave me the confidence to impact others with my story. I have remained involved with EDGE because it is an incredibly special organization where everyone is accepted and loved.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This seminar is life changing and inspiring to sophomores. I attended EDGE in 2015 and volunteered as a Jcrew the next year and now I am an SCrew. I love this seminar and I think it is an amazing program!

Logan A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

EDGE Youth Leadership was my catalyst, constructing worth within me and inspiring me to improve the world. The idea that I can truly do anything I set my mind to was installed into me here, a place of education, motivation, and action. This is a place where creativity and compassion grow, where love and leadership thrive. The atmosphere is welcoming as well as electric, urging you to take off your cool jacket and dance! There is no judgement but encouragement. Each individual had come from a different background but in the end left with the same profound belief: Be. Believe. Become.

Board Member

Rating: 5

In early 2016 I joined the EDGE Board because of my background in fundraising and my belief in the organization's mission. Since I have been involved, I have learned even more about EDGE and to say that I have been "so impressed" would be an understatement. EDGE not only changes the lives of the students that attend the seminar, it also changes the lives of the volunteers. I am proud to say that I am a part of an OUTSTANDING organization!

Danae G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

EDGE is a great organization. I attended the conference in 2013 and since then I have been hooked. I volunteer with them year round, planning the conference. EDGE has taught me a lot about understanding, communication, and networking. I use these skills to be a leader in my community and to help empower others to do the same. EDGE has built such a strong loving community of leaders who are compassionate and driven.

Client Served

Rating: 5

EDGE Youth Leadership has truly changed my life. I walked into this seminar weekend with high expectations because of alumni and I must tell you, my expectations were exceeded to max and plus some. There was nothing, but love throughout the entire weekend. This have me hope with my goals because of other people who were able to exceed their goals at around my age. This brought me enthusiasm in everything I do because the staff was so passionate in making sure that us, students, were in a comfortable and happy environment. This just showed me so much about being a leader and how to make things fun for those around me, just by living my life. I can't thank this program enough for everything they've done for me in 3 days and I really hope I can come back as JCrew

1 Nicole108

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a participant at EDGE my sophomore year and I absolutely fell in love with the program and everything that it stands for. I couldn't help but come back every year after to continue to be apart of this life changing experience. I am currently going into my 3rd year as a volunteer.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with EDGE ever since I attending the seminar as a sophomore in high school in 2011, and am consistently blown away by the incredible impact the program makes on each student who has the opportunity to attend. I am so lucky to be a part of such an incredible seminar as a member of the planning committee and have learned so much from the inspirational individuals who put on, attend and speak at the program.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer my time at EDGE Youth Leadership as the Media Director. I really love this organization so much. EDGE makes such a huge positive impact in the lives of the HS Sophomores who attend. I see their transformation as they gain in confidence and leadership skills over the weekend, it is truly amazing!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am the media director of EDGE, and have been since 2006. EDGE is such an amazing organization, all of the students who go through the seminar are so inspired to achieve so much more with their lives. They leave the weekend really inspired to try to make a difference in the world. And the students make life long friends and have one of the best times of their lives.

1 Linda314

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with EDGE was an inspiring experience! I was impressed with their intention, their message, the organization and the participants. This was an experience that I wished was available to me when I was in high school. (As is available to high schoolers now.).

Abby20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended EDGE as high school sophomore in 2012 and have been returning every year since as a member of the planning committee. EDGE Youth Leadership is a life-changing seminar that allows emerging leaders to experience three days of fun and educational learning, and personally it changed the way I viewed almost everything. The best part about EDGE is that as a student or volunteer you get to meet roughly 160 new people every year, and these people come from so many different backgrounds that it's so intriguing to just sit down and have a conversation with someone new anytime during the weekend. I am now a freshman in high school, and it turns out that my [random] roommate also attended EDGE the year that I did. We are now best friends and have that initial bond that was sparked by EDGE.

Samantha41

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My EDGE experience was by far the best experience I could have ever had! I still remember the moment when I drove up to the camp wondering what I had gotten myself into! People were screaming left and right and dancing around. Like who does that right?! But then I met my group and the other amazing people that were going through the experience with me. By the end of the camp I felt like I new everyone and my leadership skills had grown so much. I loved the new perspective I had on the world. After EDGE I felt so empowered to make all my dreams come true! I will never forget that experience that I had and the amazing friendships I made. Without EDGE I wouldn't be the person that I am today. I love EDGE and all the people in it. They're OUTSTANDING!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My journey with EDGE began as a student. Since then, I have served various roles and have continued to support this organization because I believe in the great work we do. Along the way, I have met so many amazing people who have become my second family. What makes this organization so special is the inspirational energy that resonates far beyond the seminar weekend.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended EDGE just this past year and the program greatly influenced my leadership and my perspective on life. EDGE emphasizes the importance of putting others before yourself and using your life to help create a positive change. I can honestly say that since my 3 days spent at EDGE as a student my attitude is much more positive and optimistic, I make a point to lift others up, and I am constantly searching for new ways to give back to my school and community. EDGE is a great program for all students as it strengthens leadership skills, builds confidence, and provides students with the encouragement they need to initiate the change they want to see. I will be attending EDGE this upcoming year to serve as a Junior Counselor, as I hope to provide this year's sophomores with the same remarkable experience I was given, as well as give back to the organization which has had such a positive impact on my life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended NCYLS (now EDGE) last year. After attending this seminar, I decided to get a lot more involved in my community and school. Although I already had leadership skills, this seminar helped me improve and build on those! I loved this seminar so much, that I am now going back as a mentor. I would like to help the students feel comfortable just as I needed help doing. I know that it is difficult to step out of your comfort zone, but this seminar really helps students feel comfortable and expand on their skills and develop new ones.

Jonathan28

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended NCYLS in 2008, and volunteered for NCYLS 2009 and 2010. It was an amazing experience. The first time I attended, I learned so much about myself. I learned to follow my passion and use it to help the world. In 2009 and 2010, I was able to help facilitate the same process that helped me open up my eyes. I'm proud to say that many of these students have gone off and changed the world. I met some great people, who I still keep in contact with to this day. Also, the ones I see unexpectedly, we greet each other like we saw each other yesterday. NCYLS/EDGE really is bigger than a organization; it is a family.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am SO impressed with NCYLS (now EDGE) and other programs like it that promote youth leadership across the nation! We need young leaders now more than ever and it's programs like EDGE that are making a real difference in our schools, in our communities, and in our world. When people think of great non profits, they think of, say, the Red Cross. Those people are absolutely correct, the Red Cross is an incredible organization. However, they forget that the Red Cross doesn't exist without Clara Barton, a great leader. EDGE not only grooms young leaders for a brighter tomorrow, it empowers them to make an impact and be a leader TODAY!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended NCYLS in 2010 and I have to say I didn't realize the immediate effects that it had on me. At first I didn't understand why I was chosen for this event. I felt that I already leadership quality, but of course a leader has never fully developed there is always room to grow which is one of the key things I learned. Nearly three years since that weekend I have recently reflected a lot of how much this event actually changed my life. NCYLS helped me to become more of myself again. Through Junior High and even in the beginning of high school I along with others tend to change who they really are, fitting in becomes far more important than anything else. Although I've always strived to be myself I can look back and see that I did change, and that NCYLS did help me change for the better. To once again be who I truly was and follow the passions I had. NCYLS isn't about learning to become a leader, we were all already leaders. It was simply learning to grow, and be yourself in front of anyone...even a stranger you met just a few hours ago. "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -Dr. Seuss

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've attended NCYLS since 2009, and have stayed with the organization since. The real reason is because it continues to change my life and those of my fellow staff members and students who have made this experience possible! It's become a huge part of the reason why living in the Bay Area is such a blessing!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing camp with an incredible staff and delicious food. While at NCYLS I met so many great people and life long friends. I truly hope to be able to volunteer there some day. I would recommend NCYLS to everyone I know and anyone interested, it's an awesome time!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

NCYLS is definitely not your average band camp. Granted you will have some interesting stories when you get home. With all seriousness, Northern California Youth Leadership Seminar has rewritten the meaning to my life. I never thought I would ever become close to total strangers. However, in three days I made better friendships than I've ever had. The days were packed with inspirational speakers, games, and tons of bonding exercises. These little games were fun, yet they taught us lessons. Each lesson unique to a specific skill we need to become a successful leader. Some of these exercises brought out emotions you never thought you would share; Bringing you ever closer to your fellow NCYLS group members. In the end, I'm more than thankful for having the opportunity to attend NCYLS. If I could go back, I would never leaver. (If you're still wondering, NCYLS isn't a band camp).

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NCYLS is an amazing organization! All the volunteers are kind, energetic, and passionate about what they do! The wonderful thing about NCYLS is the change you are able to create in people's lives. I attended NCYLS in 2010, and volunteered in 2011 and 2012. NCYLS has changed my life, and I'm sure hundreds of others. I hope as many people as possible are able to experience this amazing seminar. The work that the people put in is truly seen through the students' experiences!

Yasmine B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can't even begin to describe NCYLS! It brings so much to my life, from the long-lasting friendships to the motivation to make an impact in my world, NCYLS is a nonprofit I am proud to be a part of. I was first introduced to this organization as a sophomore participant in '09 and volunteered since then! I don't plan to leave anytime soon either! It amazes me how a simple vision to inspire youth to lead their communities and schools can change so many lives. NCYLS changes the lives of students, parents, schools, and volunteers and continues to change them. 5 stars is not enough for NCYLS!

1 Liam F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NCYLS. Whenever I hear this acronym my ears perk up and an immediate smile comes to my face. The Northern California Youth Leadership Seminar is the epitome of leadership in my life. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend this paramount seminar as a Sophomore in 2011. I had extremely high expectations when going in due to stories I have heard but I never fully would realize what I was about to life changing experience till I drove into Menlo College. High energy was the only way I could describe the environment. This is exactly what they needed to propel this group of teenagers through a weekend filled with so much information. Everything from how to tell someone that they need to improve something they are doing the nice way, public speaking, team building activities, social networking, and community service was on the agenda. They do an exceptional job on intertwining the community into their seminar and that is something I was able to take back to my own community of Nevada City, California. My most recent experience was last year as a J-Crew member and I served on the planning committee. Every single person I worked with had so much devotion to this seminar and clearly make time in their busy life so that this can continue to happen. Also, the people I have met throughout this organization I consider to be some of my best friends and I admire them all so much for continuing to support this seminar. NCYLS, provides an environment like no other leadership seminar out there. I have attended a few in my day and the sens of family that hits you a couple hours in is impeccable. You are able to open up and not be judged. That is the main reason I continue making time to give a hand for this group is because I can see all these high schoolers as they are revealing an entirely new look at what it is to be a leader and how you can play a key role in your community. This is a outstanding nonprofit and I hope they will continue being able to offer a FREE leadership seminar to high school sophomores from all walks of life. If everyone could have the chance to attend something similar to this, the world would be a much greater place. I have hope that students going through this will be catalysts in their own towns, cities or nations in their future. To see what I have accomplished since then, I can only fathom what we have done together. Lastly, some quotes from various authors and speakers that really hit me from these last two seminars. NCYLS, forevermore. "Success is never final and failure is never fatal." "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's creation." "In the absence of light, darkness prevails." "Everyone is bringing something unique to the table.""You must do the thing you cannot do.""You have to leave this world better than when you came into it." "It takes a minute to meet someone, an hour to get to know them, a day to love them, but an entire lifetime to forget them."

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can honestly say NCYLS changed my life. I attended three years in a row. First as a student, then as a Jcrew and then as a senior Jcrew. The impact the program had on me was more than I ever expected. The organization is full of wonderful people who really care about the students and impact that is being made. The speakers that are brought in are wonderful and are relatable to the students and inspirational. I considered myself a leader after spending the weekend at NCYLS and the things I took away from those few days, I still carry with me today. Over six years later. It was truly and amazing and OUTSTANDING experience.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended NCYLS my sophomore year of high school '07-08. And it was above and beyond what I could have asked for. It's really hard to put in words the things I was taught in the short amount of time I was there. I meet amazing peers in my area that I otherwise would have never met, and was able to gain knowledge on how to be a better leader and truly serve my community. It truly brought me joy to see all the people that invested into my character and future through this seminar.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for NCYLS was an amazing experience. I helped video the event and saw so many young adults find their voice and confidence. I've stayed in touch with many of the people that attended and volunteered in 2011 and have seen many of them go on to be active members of their communities, making a difference in their world and getting involved to create a positive future for all. It helped me on a personal level realize that I didn't have to be a passive observer in my community and I have since initiated charity drives in the wake of tragedies- notably the tornado that wiped out the town of Joplin in my home state of Missouri. I don't think it would have occurred to me that I had the power to do something like that on my own before I attended NCYLS. I can't recommend this seminar highly enough to volunteers, attendees, or investors.

Client Served

Rating: 5

NCYLS taught me the meaning of passion and positive growth. Having had the opportunity to attend as a sophomore in 2012, I can say that this seminar really put me into perspective to stop and think about what it is that motivates me, and what I can do to strive for more. Throughout this incredible weekend, I saw many sophomores from all over Northern California transform from shy, fearful individuals to enthusiastic, confident, and compassionate leaders. I was not only surrounded by positive energy all weekend long, but I was also greatly encouraged to believe in myself. I cannot wait to continue my involvement with NCYLS, and I truly believe that this seminar will give anyone who attends the inspiration to make an impact on the world.

Ellie E.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NCYLS is OUTSTANDING. I went this past year and often reflect back on my time and experience there. I loved making so many new friends from all around Northern California, and what was really amazing was getting so many different outlooks and views about school, the world, and just life in general. The experience has pushed me to be the best that I can be and I often reflect on how I can serve the community and my fellow peers. I'm HOPING that I get to experience the amazing program again and volunteer this coming year! NCYLS is an experience that I will never forget, thank you!

Dan V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I originally came to NCYLS as a volunteer in 2004. After being exposed to some of the most intelligent, heartfelt, inspirational, and passionate people (high schoolers and adults alike) I have ever met, I was inspired to quit my finance job and commit to a year of service at an after-school program in San Francisco. I have come back to NCYLS each year since because each year I am able to learn and grow in ways that I otherwise never would. If the experience is this incredible for me, I can only imagine how much of an impact it has on the youths.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I consider myself to be extraordinarily lucky to be a part of NCYLS. I have been involved in the organization since 2004, and each year I grow in ways that I had never imagined.

At the annual seminar, I have had the opportunity to meet some of the most incredible leaders from all over Northern California. They challenge me to think deeply about who I am and what it is that drives me. Through NCYLS, I have a stronger sense of self and a stronger sense of purpose. NCYLS has helped to shape the person I am today.

Client Served

Rating: 5

NCYLS was definitely a life changing experience for me. I was the only person from my school, or around my area at all, and that really helped me to reach out of my comfort zone to talk to new people. The guest speakers and key note speakers inspired me to do so much for my community to this day. All the activities helped me grow as a person and as a leader. I always look back on NCYLS and wish I could go back.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great organization. They definitely helped me be more comfortable with myself and made me want to go out and make a difference in my world and neighborhood. THANKS!

Client Served

Rating: 5

NCYLS was a really warming and exciting experience that I truly learned a lot from. I was initially very nervous coming in at first, but it definitely made me feel at home and I quickly got the chance to open up and meet a lot of new people! It's an incredible program with great speakers and activities, and the bonds you make and lessons you learn teach you a lot about leadership and growing as a person as well. I am so thankful for this experience and hope many others receive the opportunity to experience the same! :)

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NCYLS is one of the greatest leadership seminars I have ever attended. When I attended in 2010, I was amazed by the dedication of the staff and volunteers. Throughout that short weekend, I learned priceless life lessons, leadership skills, confidence boosters, and public speeking skills, along with making friends that I could trust with anything. All of those I still carry with me today. I loved the seminar so much that I attended the year of 2012 as a JCrew leader. Again I was exposed to those same leadership building settings, only this time I got to see other students grow into mature confident leaders. Seeing this and knowing I was part of this great program was one of the greatest moments of my life. NCYLS is the place to attend to become a leader, to gain important life skills, and to make some of the best friends anyone can have.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NCYLS stands out as a phenomenal organization because of the passion that each volunteer has for the program. From the executive directors to the JCREW mentors, the NCYLS staff seems to have a collective obsession with creating the perfect leadership experience. They work year-round recruiting speakers, fine-tuning the seminar, training new staff, and reaching out to more schools. At the seminar, there is an overwhelming sense of energy and optimism, a direct result of the dedication of the staff. I count myself very lucky to have experienced NCYLS both as a student and as a staff member. It has been instrumental in my development as a leader and as a person.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NCYLS has given me opportunities beyond my years. Not only as sophomore participant but also as a professional working with a non-profit. I have held director roles for a Bay Area non-profit at a young age; something not many can say. What amazes me most about this group is how hard we work to make sure the participants never spend a dime. When I attended, my paperwork didn't get filed and I technically wasn't signed up. But I had my copies with me and they took me in, no hesitations! No late fee. No "we can't afford it." NCYLS just wants teenagers to find hope in themselves and passion for whatever makes them happy. We can truly change the world with this.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended this seminar in 2005 and have served on the committee since. It not only taught me how to be confident in myself as a teenager but molded my adulthood for professionalism. It gave me opportunities that no other organization I've worked for could hold a light to! The fact it is completely FREE for participants still floors me.

Board Member

Rating: 5

“I attended NCYLS for the first time in 2004. In need of student volunteers, I was invited me to return to the seminar to help out. I didn’t have much going on that weekend and the seminar was really memorable from the year before, so I agreed to attend. Little did I know, my involvement would begin to develop into an ever growing passion. I volunteer with NCYLS because it matters. People are important! In a world where people too often take sides, NCYLS provides a safe place for students and staff to develop values. Non-partisan, neutral, leadership development. It’s beautiful really. Every year, I learn from the students and fellow staff. I’m given a fresh perspective of humanity and hope for a better tomorrow. Sappy? Sure. But applied leadership is a fairy tale I’m willing to keep dreaming. NCYLS provides not just inspiring speakers and workshops, we provide opportunities for personal development and exploration. This, in turn, creates more self-aware community members, ready to make a positive impact on their surroundings. Growing up in San Jose, I enjoy the diversity that NCYLS strives for and highlights. The students and staff bring an incredibly diverse heritage of experiences with them to the seminar and leave with a common goal: improve. Imagine being a part of an organization constantly striving for the end goal: help people, schools and communities IMPROVE! It’s remarkable really.

Client Served

Rating: 5

NCYLS is amazing. I am very nervous about meeting people my age and public speaking. NCYLS completely changed this. The group I was put in with 13 other kids my age instantly became my friends. I got along with them so well and we still keep in touch today. I learned so much about community and serving and I had a great time doing it. I came in to the weekend nervous, but left extremely happy. Thank you NCYLS for an unforgettable weekend. You helped me break my fears.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I was asked to attend this seminar by my teacher, I was less than thrilled. I honestly did not want to talk in front of people and interact with over 300 other students that I have never seen in my life. However, NCYLS changed my view on everything. I absolutely loved it. I've made so many friends who I still talk to and have learned so many public speaking and leadership skills. I am definitely lucky and proud to have attended this amazing seminar. I encourage all sophomores to attend this seminar! I just can't explain the life changing experience in just a few words! I absolutely loved it and look forward to volunteer as a group leader at the seminar.

Emma D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I was a sophomore in high school, the thought of speaking in front of peers, interacting with adults I did not know, and introducing myself to someone was daunting. My first year as a student at NCYLS back in 2010 truly shifted my outlook on these essential things in life as I've mentioned above. I have worked with NCYLS year after year because this incredible family that I am apart of continues to give support and confidence to others, as well as nurture them to become great leaders who are passionate as well. I enjoy each year being able to say to a new student, "Welcome to the family!"

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've had the pleasure of volunteering for NCYLS and can comment first-hand about the impact this organization has on people's lives. Of course, I went in thinking it would be a good use of my volunteer time, for something I believe in, but I had no idea how much it would change my perspective, nor was I prepared for the remarkable transformation the young people go through during the weekend. Barriers of all sorts came crashing down in a focused and humor-filled environment. But the end, we were not only a huge family, but all of us came away with action plans to implement leadership skills out in the world. What I love most about this organization, however, is their philosophy on the nomination process. Most organizations offer this kind of leadership development training to straight-A, Harvard-bound kids who have demonstrated they know how to function in 'the system.' So in a way, it's more of the same-old, same-old, 'looks good on a college app' behavior to attend the event. However, NCYLS encourages schools to nominate people who evidence leadership tendencies that can include students on the fringe of the 'normal' system. Perhaps the student is a strong character in their own clique, or an at-risk kid who has a knack for aiming a spotlight on a group or issue, or even a quiet student who evidences a diplomatic flair for easing classroom tensions. When these kids get nominated for attendance and get the chance to go, their lives are forever changed. I saw some incredibly disenfranchised kids develop trust in their fellows. By the end of the conference, those 'outcasts' were profoundly moved by the experience of working and creating side-by-side with other cultural or social groups. Suddenly, all the perks of 'luckier' kids were available to these eccentric students and the playing field for success was leveled in their favor. The experience certainly reframed my reality, and that was an unexpected boon.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been privileged to participate in the past two NCYLS Leadership Seminars as a volunteer, as well as a donor. The first day of each seminar, I witnessed the arrival of the students, all a little timid and nervous - no more than two participants from the same school. They were welcomed by a wall of energy generated by enthusiastic volunteer staff members. The participants were quickly divided into teams, each team with its own leaders, team banner, and yes - group chant. The following days then became a loud, happy, busy blur of team bonding activities, amazing inspirational speakers, individual and group leadership coaching - all creating countless opportunities for individual growth. The last morning of the seminar, I watched as the parents joined their students for the closing session, and got a taste of the confidence building, energizing, inspiring events their children had just experienced. I have no doubt that the positive benefits from the NCYLS seminar will continue to benefit each and every student for years to come. And I will continue to relish the opportunity to donate enough to pay for one student to attend each and every seminar.Every year. Susan Butterworth Clark

Alek B.

Board Member

Rating: 5

NCYLS affects the lives of not only the students that participate in the seminar, but also the lives of each and every board member, staff volunteer and speaker. When you're surrounded by that much positive energy, you can't help but look at the world in a different way by the end.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NCYLS is outstanding. It's a three day long seminar with many key note speakers and awesome staff like the J-Crew and S-Crew but most of all, it is full of people just like you! Hands down it's one of the best non-profit organizations. If I had to go back and do it over, I would do it in a heartbeat. The meaning behind the program is just awesome! In a nutshell, you step outside your comfort zone and you really discover who you are! Most of all, words can't even describe this organization, you have to attend!

Bill39

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NCYLS changes the lives of the students it serves as well as the volunteers that make the leadership seminar possible. A few years ago, NCYLS brought Anthony Rapp from Rent as well as Congresswoman Jackie Speier to speak with the sophomores at the seminar. It was unbelievable to hear the message of a woman who has been shot 7 times while striving to serve her constituents as well as the message from a broadway star that you should follow your dreams and live every day as if it were your last. I was as inspired as the students I was leading through the weekend of activities. From practicing speeches, to collaborating with teammates through a ropes course - the seminar is exciting and leaves a strong impression on all involved. I've volunteered there since 2006. I actually found NCYLS because a high school junior that I managed at a tutoring center impressed me with her leadership and mentoring skills... that she told me she gained from NCYLS!

Kevin I.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NCYLS is hands down the best motivated non-profit organization I came across! My experience with the program was when I was a sophomore, not knowing what I got myself into. Little did I know I would become one of the greatest motivators to affect my future! My junior year I decided to be a volunteer in the program so that I can teach what I learned but in reality, learned more! I am now in the Air Force and a part of why decided to join was from service and leadership that came from this seminar! I'm working and continuing to be a better leader!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first year as a volunteer for the Operations staff was amazing. The staff was actually short on Team Leaders so I tried that out. It is absolutely amazing to see the transformation of the students from first day introductions to the last day. The panels, the speakers, the activities that the students are all part of made it so rewarding to be apart of. I am very fortunate to be apart of this.

Emma5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I LOVE NCYLS! There is no other words to say besides "Outstanding". Which I am sure a lot of people have already used. But NCYLS did so much for me as a Sophomore, and I learned a lot coming back as a Junior too, so I KNOW that Senior year will be just one more step on my walk in leadership.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What an incredible experience! My wife and I were first time volunteer team leaders at NCYLS this past May, and we cannot say enough about the experience. The operations and support staff were tremendous to work with, and we cherished the opportunity to work with the students. Thank you NCYLS staff!

Morgan D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

NCYLS was life changing. As a sophomore, I did not have a lot of direction in life and NCYLS helped inspire my interest in community service and leadership. The conference is special in that it provides a multitude of perspectives on leadership and a very dynamic experience that includes speeched, activities, games, and reflection. I got to know 150 other sophomores, 10 amazing Junior leaders, 10 adult group leaders, and many keynote speakers from every walk of life. I returned to NCYLS as a J Crew member because I loved it so much. The most amazing thing about NCYLS is that the community that is fostered during the weekend does not end at the final ceremony. The organization works hard to keep the OUTSTANDING inspiration going with alumni barbeques and Facebook groups where everyone can keep in touch. NCYLS completely altered my high school experience and I will never forget my time with the organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved as a volunteer and advocate since the beginning of NCYLS--and that in itself is a commendation. It's so easy for volunteers to become exhausted, used up, disenchanted, for their attention and interest to wander. But for me, as for so many other volunteers, the enchantment has grown. I am continually amazed at the changes the group facilitates within the students who attend, heartened to note how many volunteers return year after year to support the students. As an inevitable continuation, it is a continual delight to see how many of the students become team leaders, leaders and board members, and how many of them go on with lives strengthened and transformed by the work of NCYLS.

Gwen L.

Board Member

Rating: 5

When I first joined NCYLS, I didn't yet fully appreciate the far-reaching impact the annual seminar has. It truly inspires high school students to start or lead positive efforts in their communities. Students learn the skills and tactics required to lead and work in teams, and are inspired by community leaders who speak about their leadership and non-profit work. Students are then challenged to volunteer over 100 hours over the course of the next year, and in turn inspire other students at their schools and in their communities to do the same. If we plant the seed in a few students, the effects can be far-reaching.

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization is incredibly valuable for helping young people grow into their true leadership potential. I am very inspired by the work they do, and am pleased to contribute to this very worthy cause.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a sophomore in high school, I attended NCYLS simply because I figured it would look good on college applications. I was ready to play leadership games and untangle the human knot a bunch of times. By the end of the first keynote speaker, I was already making promises to myself and brainstorming how I could be a catalyst at my rural, struggling high school. The three days I spent there honestly changed my perspective. I was no longer satisfied and was motivated to work for change. I created four leadership workshops for junior high students and volunteered for youth outdoor education camps. I was able to transfer the positive energy NCYLS instilled within me to many adolescents in my community. I returned to NCYLS the next year as a Junior Crew member and helped guide and support a group of sophomores through the seminar. I grew closer with my fellow J-Crew members and they helped motivate me to complete college applications and reminded me to stay positive and encourage those around me. NCYLS continues to change lives and inspire students unlike any other workshop or leadership activity I have seen.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The team of volunteers behind NCYLS are the reason the organization provides an enthusiastic platform to encourage and educate young people how they can make a difference in their community. Most students who attend an NCYLS seminar continue to volunteer and engage with the NCYLS family in the following years, because the seminar fosters an excitement to give back and grow into an outstanding adult during the process.

Danny6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first came to NCYLS as a volunteer four years ago, and I was blown away! NCYLS is a leadership conference for high school kids that are recommended by their schools for a weekend together with other children their same age. Over this weekend the kids are exposed to extatic individuals who stead them through numerous leadership activities and seminars that help mold them into the future leaders of tomorrow. One might not think one weekend could change a child's attitude about being a leader at their school so much, but everyone leaves the seminar with a bursting ambition not only to better themselves, but to better their communities at home. I myself have continued to volunteer three out of the last four years because the amazing attitude and lessons learned every year apply not only to the kids but to adults like myself as well.