Youth Leadership Knoxville
Our Programs

Youth Leadership Knoxville

Youth Leadership Knoxville launched in 2014 with the intent of giving rising high school juniors the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of Knoxville and develop leadership skills. Designed to encourage and inspire youth to become effective leaders in their school and community, students also form new friendships with students across Knox County.


  • Students are dual-enrolled at Pellissippi State Community College for three hours of college credit in Leadership Development.
  • Program is 10-month duration with approximately 50 participants.
  • Participants meet and engage with many of the top civic and community leaders in Knoxville across a spectrum of industries in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

Apply to Youth Leadership Knoxville

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The 10-month program includes orientation, week-long day camp in July, community service project and monthly class sessions from August-April.


Youth Leadership Knoxville tuition is $150. Scholarship assistance and payment plans are available.


Applications are accepted through April 1. Deliverables include an online application submitted by the student; parent/guardian permission form; one to three personal or community references; and principal permission form. Please reach out to references and principal early to provide ample time for them to complete the online forms before the deadline.

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Young people have the spark toward innovative thinking and the promise of a long future of leadership. Youth Leadership Knoxville helps students elevate big ideas, develop leadership skills and learn more about their community with the goal of instilling a desire for lifelong servant leadership and involvement wherever life may take them.



Any rising junior in Knox County, including public, private and homeschool, may be eligible for Youth Leadership Knoxville. The program combines different learning experiences, including a one-week summer camp, monthly sessions held August to April in the evenings and a Saturday community service project. Students are dual-enrolled at Pellissippi State Community College for three hours of college credit in HUM 2100 Leadership Development taught by a Pellissippi State professor during the monthly sessions.



Youth Leadership Knoxville is a program of Leadership Knoxville for rising high school juniors in Knox County. It’s designed to inspire and encourage young people to become effective leaders in their schools and community. The curriculum focuses on team-building skills and topics relevant to their generation. Participants will meet and engage with other students from across the county as well as many top leaders in Knoxville, including government officials, public and private business leaders, and nonprofit community leaders. Participants enroll in HUM 2100: Leadership Development at Pellissippi State Community College – for no additional cost – which allows for a more formal exploration of leadership and the opportunity to earn college credit.

All high school sophomores in Knox County in public, private or homeschools are encouraged to apply.

Students will gain an understanding and appreciation of Knoxville along with a focus on the skills needed to be an effective leader in their school and community. Topics of special interest will be discussed and experienced along with development of skills in communication, team building and public speaking. Relationships with students in other schools and the opportunity to interact and network with some of Knoxville’s leaders are additional benefits of this program.

No. Only students who live or attend a public, private or homeschool in Knox County are eligible to apply.

  • Two-hour orientation with parents/guardians
  • One-week summer camp in July, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
    • Monday attendance is mandatory
    • Students must attend four of the five days
  • Saturday community service project
  • Monthly evening sessions
    • Nine, three-hour sessions
    • Students must attend seven of the nine monthly sessions
  • Assignments that should not require more time than a typical assignment for an honors-level high school class.
  • A teacher or guidance counselor from your school should serve as your Educator Reference.
  • An employer, church official or someone in the community who has known you for at least three years should be selected to serve as your Community Reference.
  • The principal or headmaster of your school will need to grant permission for you to participate by completing and submitting the Principal’s Form.

An anonymous Selection Committee will meet and review all applications. Every effort will be made to select at least two students from each high school in Knox County.

  • Follow instructions carefully.
  • Submit your application materials in advance of the deadline. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.
  • Carefully complete the essay questions with brief, thoughtful remarks.
  • Communicate with and give parents, principal and references ample time to complete their forms on the application.

You should plan on spending at least one hour completing your portion of the application. Please remember to notify your parents, references and principal of your application with plenty of time for them to complete their forms before the deadline.

Tuition for the Youth Leadership Knoxville class is $150. Scholarships are available for financial assistance that must be submitted with the application. A payment plan is available, based on circumstances.

Notification of receipt of a scholarship or financial assistance will be sent with your acceptance letter.

Contact your school principal, headmaster, guidance counselor or teacher or speak to someone who was a member of the previous class of Youth Leadership Knoxville. You may also contact Courtney Hutcheson at Leadership Knoxville.