LiFE Sports Youth Leadership Academy Teaches Work, Life Skills

By Luke O'Quinn
Program Coordinator
LiFE Sports

The LiFE Sports Youth Leadership Academy, now in its second year, is a leadership development program dedicated to preparing LiFE Sports youth, ages 15-18, for college and future careers. The Leadership Academy seeks to expand on the important skills taught at LiFE Sports (i.e., S.E.T.S - self-control, teamwork, effort, and social responsibility) by providing older youth with additional education and work experiences that will help them gain the necessary skills to succeed at work and in life. The Youth Leadership Academy is comprised of three phases; the Skills Phase, the Success Phase, and the Culminating Event. Each phase is targeted at a different skill-set that builds upon the previous phase.

Two returning participants in the LiFE Sports Youth Leadership Academy, Savon Banks and Kyrianne Stanton, recently shared their thoughts about the academy.

Savon Banks
Recent graduate of Africentric High School
Attending Ohio Wesleyan University to play football and to study Pre- Veterinary Animal Sciences

Savon BanksBeing involved in the Youth Leadership Academy has allowed me to reconnect with some of my friends that I haven’t been able to see in a long time. It also has allowed me to understand others better. I have also figured out how to be a good Youth Leader by watching other people, because what I consider to be good leadership skills might be different than someone else. Someone might have my skills, and then more. So it has helped me a lot.

The Youth Leadership Academy has also helped me a lot with my school, family, and social life! Before I was a Youth Leader, I was the silent type and never knew how to really speak for myself. I always waited until it was absolutely necessary to speak. Now, my style has changed. Being a Youth Leader has helped me learn to communicate with others, with how I speak, my body language, attitude, and leaving good first impressions on others.

YLA has affected my life a lot. Again, communication skills have helped me with preparing for being a freshman on a large campus and not being the silent type. It has helped me learn how to make lasting friendships.

Kyrianne Stanton
Recent graduate of Columbus Downtown High School
Attending The Art Institute of Tampa to study Digital Photography.

Kyrianne StantonThe Youth Leadership Academy has really helped me make and build friendships. Before I was a Youth Leader, I didn’t have very many friends because I found it hard to trust others. The Youth Leadership Academy has really helped me become more open and trusting of others.

YLA has also made me a lot more responsible. Before being a Youth Leader, I didn’t care about much and I didn’t take on responsibility. Now I have a lot of responsibilities that I take care of. I have things to finish at home, and I have a job that I am committed to. Also, I have learned that I need to put schoolwork and my future plans before anything else.

YLA has helped me decide on my future career. Before I was a Youth Leader, I wasn’t going to go to college, but was planning on going into the military. With the help of the Youth Leadership Academy, I have decided to go to school in Florida for digital photography. It really helped me choose my own career and decide what I want. Also, YLA has helped me learn how to speak to others; I have better eye contact now and know how to carry myself.

For more information, visit the LiFE Sports Youth Leadership Academy page.

The 2015 LiFE Sports Summer Camp runs from June 8-July 2.

About LiFE Sports

The LiFE Sports Initiative, a collaboration among the College of Social Work, the Department of Athletics and many additional university and community partners, is the second largest of its kind in the country, with over 650 local youth served each year. This initiative became the first program at The Ohio State University to receive United Way Grant Funding. LiFE Sports aims to increase the number and quality of sport and recreational programs available to youth, especially those from vulnerable circumstances. In addition, LiFE Sports also hopes to increase the number of highly skilled youth development professionals in the field, and advance best practices in the areas of youth development, social work, and physical activity. In the 2012-13 year alone, LiFE Sports prepared 183 OSU students for careers involving youth development through classroom and field-based learning opportunities. LiFE Sports is a national model for university outreach and youth development programs.

Contact: Rebecca Wade-Mdivanian,