youth leadership academy

Looking for a way to help the teens in your school, club, or team develop true leadership skills?

The Youth Leadership Academy will have a meaningful impact on their behavior – and their lives.


What Is the Youth Leadership Academy?

The Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) is an innovative training program designed by certified professional co-active coach Darla Beam, and co-founder and experienced coach Paula Alencar. It has been successfully implemented in schools across the DFW metroplex, invited and supported by a diverse range of organizations, from school districts to educational nonprofits to community outreach agencies. 

At the Youth Leadership Academy, we awaken teens’ Leader Within. Through our program, young people choose to empower themselves, own their inherent leadership and take ownership of every aspect of their lives. The lifelong tools they develop and utilize in the Youth Leadership Academy allow them to live their life with intention, passion and choice.

Everyone is a leader in their own life, whether they are playing a team sport, planning a school project, or first learning to drive. Owning their choices and their responsibilities is the foundation for young people to embrace their inner-leadership.

At the YLA, we use leadership models, experiential learning, and creative and fun exercises to point to the critical component our youth need to succeed in life today – CHOICE. After all, parents can’t follow their kids around for the rest of their lives making certain they make all the right decisions…at least we hope not!

How Does It Work?

The Youth Leadership Academy is a flexible, mobile program that comes to your location, and is tailored to your unique needs and goals.


Among the offerings we provide: 

  • One-Week Student Developmental Programs (with field trips for real-life application!)

  • One-Day Student Programs

  • Parent & Educator Programs

  • Possible Add-Ons:

o   A year of weekly student meetings where we build community and sustainable support systems

o   One-on-one student coaching to deepen the learning and call the individual to rise to their highest potential

What Results Can I Expect To See After Student Participation in the YLA?

Do your students complain about being constantly stressed? Is it clear they need better study strategies, or help with organization and time management?

Are you dealing with teens who don’t listen, are addicted to their phones and social media, or won’t do homework?

Some of the benefits students see after attending the Youth Leadership Academy:

  • responding vs. reacting

  • college and career decisions that are resonant and made with ease

  • taking ownership of their life and being responsible for themselves and their world

  • collaboration and improved communication with parents, family and friends

  • permission to be a leader while living their most fulfilled life

  • balance in all aspects of their lives

…and so much more!

Everyone is a leader in their own life, and at the Youth Leadership Academy, we see and meet your kid exactly where he/she is and co-lead the process of calling them forth into their Leader Within.

What Do Teens Do in the YLA?


While every YLA program is unique – custom-designed to fit your group’s needs and goals, and then personalized even further based on your group’s personalities and responses as we move through it - there are some essential tools we use to impart these lifelong leadership lessons to teens. 

Even students who are already friends may not know certain information about each other. That’s why we let them have a snowball fight to get to know each other better! We ask teens who their favorite leader is and why, and ask them to write their answers on a piece of paper that they then wad up and throw at each other. Then students each pick up someone else’s “snowball,” read it, and try to find out who that answer belongs to. Next, they get into circles and introduce the person whose answer they found to the group. Finally, we debrief that game and discuss its lessons.

We can’t reach the goals we want to without a conscious effort to work towards them, so we stay in those circles and talk about the desired outcomes for the day – both those of the leaders and those of the students. We write these on the board so we can all keep track of them throughout the day.

Acting out scenarios and roles leads to deeper learning, so our teens might perform short skits to ground them into the learning and really embody it. First, the leaders act out one model of the negative aspect of leadership, and then students divide up into small groups and come up with their own skits. After performing and watching all the skits, we again debrief what we learned. 


To solidify their learning further, students participate in an experiential exercise knot, where they learn effective ways to solve problems in the real world. Another debriefing helps put words to their experience.

Sitting one on one, students have values conversations, in which they find where their values intersect with those of the other. Our debriefing here is especially crucial and impactful.

Now it’s the students’ turn become the front of the room leaders and teach to learn. They themselves then determine whether they’ve achieved the outcomes they were aiming for.


We end the day with a fun activity that brings movement or an application to the lessons of the day. Past activities of some our programs have included rock climbing, yoga, and even a movie afternoon where students tracked how often the drama triangle appeared in the movie to win a prize.

The practice of teens and young people owning their own lives while taking responsibly for their actions and their impact on our world is a critical component for success in life.

individual sessions with teens and parents are also available

ready to begin?

Already enrolled in the Youth Leadership Academy? Click below to print out the release form.