The YMCA of Northern Colorado, CU Boulder and the Boulder Valley, St. Vrain Valley and Thompson School Districts have developed a free program to provide selected local high school sophomores, juniors and seniors with foundational leadership skills. We believe there are many promising local students with great leadership potential who may benefit from additional training and development of their skills. Utilizing the existing resources in our community, this program will give participants significant leadership education and experience. We will provide tools needed to navigate situations that one is likely to face through a continued leadership journey via roles of increasing responsibility and impact.

Through hands-on projects, intrapersonal and interpersonal exploration and mentoring from community leaders, Lead Colorado helps young leaders form self-awareness about their personal mission and values. While completing capstone projects, participants will give back to the community and show their leadership capabilities. Lead Colorado will work to develop purposeful, ethical leaders who are equipped to have a significant impact in our community.

Lead Colorado


Each month of the program, students in the Lead Colorado Program will attend a two-hour session in the evening where they will be exposed to a very specific leadership lesson from someone who is an expert in that area. Students will be expected to complete the pre-work that is assigned prior to each session so that they are prepared to fully participate and absorb the concepts that are being presented. After the presentation, there will be group discussion and/or debate around the topic matter.

The program will conclude with a presentation by each participant about their leadership journey. Attendance to these sessions is mandatory to remain in good standing with the Lead Colorado Program.

Participation Criteria

  • Lead Colorado participants must plan on attending all scheduled meetings.
  • Applicants must be sophomores or juniors in high school during the 2024/2025 school year in our service area.
  • Participants will present a synthesis of their learning and how it relates to their respective communities.

Characteristics of Lead Colorado Students

  • Have potential for leadership or demonstrated leadership in either school or the community.
  • Have the commitment to consume and understand the material given and participate in the discussion effectively.
  • Are open-minded, tolerant of divergent perspectives and opinions.
  • Can balance commitment to the program and their academic studies.
  • Engender the positive character, spirit and values of their school and your school community.
  • Are comfortable interacting with a broad and diverse group of individuals and willing to actively participate. 
  • Will look at the curriculum, collateral material, meeting dates and verify that they can attend and will fully participate. 
  • Once a student is nominated, they will be asked to answer three essay questions to help Lead Colorado organizers get to know participants. 


This application is a required component of the selection process for the Lead Colorado Program.
Applications accepted until September 20, 2024.

All Lead Colorado applicants must provide one reference. Please direct your reference to this form.


By submitting my application, I agree to the following Lead Colorado requirements. Please read and check all boxes.
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