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Students get a chance to develop their leadership skills and find ways that they can help our community grow. YLK allows them to build connections with like minded individuals.


Session Days

The Youth Leadership Kearney program is getting a fresh new look that focuses on developing our youth for life beyond high school and helps them sharpen their leadership skills.

Participants in this program begin as high school juniors and graduate during the fall semester of their senior year. They will grow to understand how our city  and state function, as they gain a deeper understand of business and non-profits in Kearney. YLK members experience an interactive and hands-on sessions days and have the opportunity to meet community leadership. 

YLK members begin their year with a retreat that helps them develop their connections amongst their class and develop their leadership skills, understand group dynamics, and work on building relationships with their peers. Each month during the program they'll learn about community visions, businesses, government, human services, health, personal development, and how they can use these skills in life after high school.

Youth Orientation (January)

This is the opening session of the program that allows both students and parents to get to know the program, and the programs expectations and responsibilities. It is also a time where the parents will get to meet the Leadership Kearney Board of Directors Youth Committee that is in charge of planning the program and leading the sessions that the students attend. This is also a time for the students to meet other class members and ask questions.

Youth Retreat (February)

Our Youth Retreat is a one day seminar which allows participants to explore leadership skills, learn about group dynamics, and focusing on team building. 

Session Days ( March - May, August - October)

Session days are scheduled on Wednesdays of each month, with the exception of a few sessions. YLK seeks to teach leadership skills through exposure to and interaction with leaders of the community from different pillar industries of Kearney. Session day topics vary from learning about our state and local government to career exploration. 

Volunteer Project (June/July)

Through volunteering individuals are able to gain new skills necessary for the job market such ad leadership, communication, dependability, time management, and decision making all while being able to make an impact on your community. Each YLK class selects a group volunteer project that gives back to the community in some way. This is a requirement of all individuals going through the program and is one of our participants favorite parts of the program.

Youth Graduation (November)

Graduation is an important time of reflection and learning more about oneself and helping figure out the what's next question. This is a special time for our YLK participants to share their experience with their family and YLK sponsor. 



The purpose of the YLK selection process is to choose a class of individuals to represent the Kearney area. Members of the class will have the opportunity to become educated on various issues, exchange ideas and enhance their leadership skills.

Applicants must:

  • Enrollment as a student in the Kearney School District or home schooled in the Kearney area.

  • Applications must be submitted during the fall of junior year for participation during the spring semester of their junior year and the fall semester of their senior year.

  • Students selected must commit to full participation in the program.

  • Participants must have a desire to develop and utilize leadership skills.



Youth Leadership Kearney program tuition is $250.

  • Applying to YLK is free ad open to all Kearney students.

  • Youth Leadership Kearney charges a $250 to all individuals selected to participate in the program. Tuition is non-refundable.

  • All selected students are responsible for contacting and securing sponsorships for their tuition for Youth Leadership Kearney.

  • Selected youth are responsible for reporting their progress in the program to their sponsor throughout the year.

  • Tuition is due prior to Orientation.

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Any student who is in the 11th grade in Kearney is welcome to apply for our Youth Leadership Kearney program. Applications are available online or a paper copy can be requested. Applications are promoted to the community through Leadership Kearney & Youth Leadership Kearney social media accounts, community emails, and at school presentations.

Applicants are responsible for making sure ALL application materials are submitted via the online application by:

Friday, October 11, 2024 @ 5 PM.

The application includes:

- Confidential Application Form (submitted online via the Leadership Kearney website)

  • Section 1: Personal Information

  • Section 2: Leadership

  • Section 3: Involvement

  • Section 4: Applicant Additional Information

  • Section 5: Application Submission**


**Teacher & Community Reference Letters must be submitted through the link provided in Section 5 of the application.

The school administration will be notified by Leadership Kearney of each Youth Leadership Kearney application. Each application acceptance may be subject to approval by the principal.  


Please note that the Youth Leadership Kearney selection process is highly competitive, that is done on a blind selection process based on a scoring rubric done by the Youth Committee (A committee of the Leadership Kearney Board of Directors). Application questions are assigned a point value, and selection is based on the total points an applicant receives. This is a highly confidential process. All student's personal information and school identifiers are removed prior to the selection committee's review and are not seen by the selection committee. A third party receives and manages all applications while removing the applicants' identifying information. 


All applicants will be notified by mail regarding selection results, no later than December 3, 2024. Chosen candidates will participate in their spring semester of junior year and graduate during the fall semester of their senior year.



A $1,325 scholarship will be awarded to up to three Youth Leadership Kearney graduates, pursuing post-secondary educations at an accredited two-year or four-year institution. Preference will be given to applicants choosing to attend an institution in Kearney.

Students must carry a minimum 3.0 GPA and must be a graduating senior level student attending a Kearney high school and residing in Kearney proper.

Scholarship monies will be paid directly to recipient's collegiate institution first semester after verification of current enrollment. This scholarship is a one-time award.


Please fill out and print the Application Form and submit with the required attachments. 

DEADLINE for 2024 Scholarships is APRIL 1st!!!

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