40 Youth Leadership Polk Inspiring Young Leaders Vision Before 2030, Polk County will have leadership that drives the partnership with government and citizens to ensure that Polk County is a premiere place to live, learn, work and play Youth Leadership Polk was piloted for a second year in the summer of 2018. This student engagement program is designed to instill students with a sense of belonging, support social and emotional development, explore potential careers, and expand their knowledge of Polk County. ADVISORY COUNCIL Following a favorable pilot in the summer 2017, Polk Vision convened a group of cross sector leaders to serve as a Council. This group is committed to the development of a comprehensive and sustainable Youth Leadership Polk program. This past year, with expert assistance from Dr. John Diaz and staff from the University of Florida/IFAS, the Council established outcomes, curriculum, key measures and evaluation methods, field trip locations and agendas. The Council is in the process of assessing the results of this year’s program and already preparing for Class 3. Youth Leadership Polk Class II was comprised of 8th through 12th grade students convened in day-long sessions, once a week for seven weeks. The partnership with Girls Inc. of Lakeland and Bartow continued with services extended to students from Winter Haven, Haines City, and Lake Wales through a new partnership with Citrus Center Boys & Girls Club. Participants learned components of environmental responsibility, government and public policy, history and culture, community health, and public safety while expanding their academic COLLEGE & CAREER DAY During a visit to Florida Polytechnic University, students received instruction on the many pathways to career and college. Following a tour of the campus and engaging in a STEM activity, students participated in a “Speed Dating” session with 8 college and university admissions counselors from across Polk County. knowledge. Dedicated business leaders from across the county, many of them Leadership Polk graduates, volunteered as guest speakers, facility hosts and curriculum instructors. Instruction was expanded to include Junior Achievement ® instruction modules covering essential employability skills such as team work, critical thinking and effective communication. THE ENVIRONMENT The Environmental curriculum introduced students to the importance of land and animal preservation; the ecosystem; water conservation; recycling and waste management. Students attended facilitated tours at Circle B Bar Reserve, the Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the Polk County Landfill.