The award-winning Suwanee Youth Leaders (SYL) program is a nine-month leadership program open to high school students who live in the North Gwinnett, Peachtree Ridge, and Collins Hill clusters, as well as home school and private school students who reside within those clusters. The program centers on civic involvement, leadership skills, and volunteer opportunities
The 2020-21 SYL program will kick off with a mandatory two-day retreat in the late summer, prior to the start of the GCPS school year. Students then meet one Saturday each month August through April and are expected to volunteer at several community events which may include the August Concert, two Food Truck Friday events, Suwanee Fest, and Arts in the Park.
SYL applications will become available in March 2020, and are due April 10. The program has recently been restructured to fit in the school year, rather than the calendar year. Due to this change, SYL will accept high school sophomore, juniors, and seniors (for this class ONLY).
The partnership with the City of Suwanee and Suwanee Youth Leaders provides an outstanding opportunity for our student leaders to learn about civic engagement. The program that Suwanee has created teaches critical soft skills, teamwork protocols, and ultimately event production that kids do not get to learn in traditional classroom settings. Not only do they get to work with and learn from amazing adults, but they also network with students from other clusters to create a collaborative relationship that makes all of our schools better.
What did I get from the program? Honestly: my voice. When I applied to SYL, I was really shy and timid; I had never done anything like this before. I was afraid to even apply for fear of rejection. Even after being accepted into the program, I was terrified to come to the first meeting. Over time my confidence grew because of this program and the people in it. I was encouraged to do things I would have never done by myself, pushing past my limits and discovering this whole new level of myself that I didn't know of before. My biggest, proudest moment was spontaneously becoming the emcee of the Suwannee Fest Parade. Taking the microphone with no fear made me realize how much I had grown over the past few months.
Suwanee Youth Leaders was by far one of the best experiences I've ever had. The sense of community that formed between all the members of SYL was incredible. We were all working for similar goals that sprouted out of a similar love for the City we lived in.