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What We Do
  • Prepare youth to make a difference in their community.
  • Provide youth the opportunity to influence decisions in the community.
  • Help youth develop confidence as well as skills needed to be successful in life.


The Students Taking Active Roles, or STAR Leadership Training program was created to encourage youth to take active roles within the community. High School youth will participate in training focused on development of leadership skills, communication and team building skills, knowledge about civics and how to be more civically engaged as well as specific tools needed to serve on advisory boards or committees.

  • Youth in grades 9, 10, and 11 are invited to apply for the STAR Leadership Training.
  • It's Free! There are no costs to participate in this training - everything is included.
  • You may be eligible for academic credit for completing the Leadership Training!
  • Upon successfully completing the training, students will be placed on a committee/board as a full voting member. Serving on these boards counts toward Community Service Hour requirements!
  • Each student will be matched with an Adult Partner who will provide technical assistance and support as the youth serves a one year term on a committee
  • Ongoing support and training will be provided for graduates throughout the year.

What We Do
  • STAR is very "hands on" - activities are used throughout the training to teach the skills needed.
  • Special events include Lunch with a Leader - meet local leaders who want to hear from you!
  • Trips to Sarasota County Government and the School Board to meet with elected officials and learn how these systems work.

Complete an Application
Training Overview

Youth participants will complete 75 hours of training in:

  • Civic engagement - it's more than voting!
  • Introduction to the organizational structure of city and county government
  • History of Sarasota County
  • Community assessment-needs and resources
  • Trusteeship-Knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of members of a board of directors
  • Understanding the purpose and function of not-for-profit agencies in our community
  • Parliamentary Procedure
  • Skill Development
  • Leadership
  • Group dynamics
  • Communication skills
  • Goal setting
  • Decision making
  • Problem solving skills
  • Project planning

Training Staff

The STAR training is conducted by staff and student trainers (youth who have completed the training and received additional training in facilitation skills). Community leaders are brought in to lead a variety of pieces such as Roberts Rules of Order, understanding local government or the role of a not-for-profit board. Often times, these are current or former elected officials (Supervisor of Elections, former city commissioner, current chair of the Board of County Commissioners, etc).

Adult Training

A key to the success of the Civic Engagement Initiative in Sarasota County is the STAR Maker workshop offered by CYD for adults who will be interacting with youth on committees. This training is designed to prepare agencies, organizations and government committees to empower youth as a resource. Topics covered in this training include Basic Youth Development, Cultural Assumptions, Engaging Youth as Resources, Civic Engagement Strategies, and Organizational Readiness.

A 2-hour overview is offered and recommended for the agency's executive director and board chair to provide an understanding of the concepts of utilizing youth as a resource and Civic Engagement.

Each organization interested in having a youth from the STAR Leadership Training serve in their decision making structure must agree to maintain a trained staff or board member that will serve as an advisor to the student. We have found that this training ensures that the youth is fully engaged and successful in their service to the organization.

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