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Year One: Leadership Development

The first year consists of a series of inter-related elements that give participants a better understanding of the Social-Change Model of leadership development, their community, National Parks, the environment and themselves. Sessions take place on campus every Wednesday during the academic year from 7:30pm - 9:00pm. The program also includes an overnight retreat at the beginning of year, as well as a few weekend trips during each semester. 

Elements include:

Leadership Seminars

Students learn about the theoretical basis for the Social Change Model for leadership development through fun, interactive seminars.


Wilderness and Team-Building Experiences

YLP participants push their limits, bond and crystallize their leadership qualities through exciting team building and wilderness based experiences. Activities include: rock climbing, hiking, high-ropes course, adventure race, weekend retreat and barbeques.

Speaker Series Events

Participants get to meet and learn from incredible people who are linked by their passion for the environment and their desire to support positive social change. Past speakers include: Pioneering climber and entrepreneur Royal Robbins, National Park Service Ranger Shelton Johnson, adaptive athlete and climber Mark Wellman, Inkdwell founder Jane Kim, Latino Outdoors founder Jose Gonzales, and former California State Parks Director Ruth Coleman.

Cohort Meetings

Participants work together to combine the information learned in the leadership seminars with the team-building experiences in order to gain a personal understanding of leadership.

Networking Opportunities

Participants receive wonderful opportunities to network with environmental and community leaders to create connections that will help them grow both personally and professionally.

These elements combine to increase participants’ belief in their own abilities and inspire them to realize their own potential.

Bee Xiong“The Yosemite Leadership Program is, in fact, a life-changing opportunity. It allows you to discover the leader within yourself, be passionate, find your own limits and stretch beyond them. It’s allowed me to not just dream but to live my dream”

— Bee Xiong, UC Merced undergraduate