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Leadership Seminar

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 7.04.04 PMEach year more than 120 high school sophomores from all parts of Maine are invited to participate in the four-day Maine Youth Leadership seminar held at the University of Southern Maine campus in Gorham. This popular and energetic event is designed to recognize and develop personal leadership skills. Our seminar is at no cost to students, parents or schools. Maine Youth Leadership covers all expenses, meals and lodging. Students are only responsible for their transportation to and from the seminar.

These bright young minds begin their experience as a diverse group of strangers — yet within hours, they become a cohesive group of civic-minded teenagers. The next days’ activities bring them even closer together to teach them practical skills of planning, decision-making, facilitating and reasoning. We help bridge understanding and foster lasting friendships.

Seminar Content

Local leaders and Maine decision-makers graciously donate their time and expertise to our seminar program. Leaders such as former Maine Governor Angus King, Maine Supreme Court Chief Justice Leigh Saufley, USM President Selma Botman and Newspaper Columnist Bill Nemitz are just a few of talented presenters who interact with our future leaders. Students also take part in small group decision-making exercises, public speaking opportunities, creative skits and hands-on volunteer projects. A dance and talent show are two of the social activities where students have an opportunity to make lasting friendships with their peers.

Student Selection

Each fall we send notices to all accredited high schools in Maine by e-mail and invite the Guidance Counselor or Principal to nominate a sophomore student to our spring seminar. Each school determines its own selection criteria and process. Maine Youth Leadership welcomes any sophomore, in particular those who demonstrate leadership potential and interest. Once a student is nominated by their school and we receive their complete nomination form, we mail a registration packet (in mid-winter) to confirm their participation. Schools are also asked to nominate an alternate student in the case that the primary student is unable to attend.

Nominate a Student

Nomination materials for the spring 2017 MYL seminar will be e-mailed to all Maine accredited high school guidance counselors in autumn. Guidance counselors or principals are encouraged to register their student (and an alternate) online by filling out the nomination form found here.

If you have questions, please contact Jim Cox, Recruitment Chair, at 207-221-3196 or via email at

Sample Program

This is a sample of the program events and activities modeled after past years. Speakers, session topics, and order of events may change from year to year.


9:30 am – 11:00 am


11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Group Time/Ice Breakers

12:00 – 12:45


12:45 pm – 1:15 pm

Seminar Kick-Off
Welcome and Introductions
Rules: Junior Counselors

1:15pm – 1:30 pm

USM Welcome

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Keynote Address

2:30 pm – 2:45 pm

Break/Walk to Field House

2:45 pm – 4:45 pm

Leadership and Team Building Games

5:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Group Time and Group Pictures

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm


6:45 pm – 8:00 pm

Mission Statement Exploration

8:00 pm – 8:30 pm

JC Roll Call and Planning

8:45 pm – 9:45 pm

TBA One Hour Activity

11:00 pm

Lights Out



6:30 am – 7:00 am

Wake-up Call

7:00 am – 7:45 am


8:00 am – 9:30 am

Leadership Panel

9:45 am – 10:15 am

Roll Call

10:15 am – 11:45 am

Tower Game

12:00 noon – 1:00 pm


1:00 pm – 2:45 pm

Leadership and the Law

2:45 pm – 3:15 pm

Group Time

3:30 pm – 4:15 pm

Town Meeting Prep

4:14 pm – 5:30 pm

Town Meeting

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm


6:40 pm – 7:40 pm

Brand Camp

7:40 pm – 8:00 pm

Dance Preparation

8:00 pm – 10:30 pm


11:00 pm

Lights Out



7:00 am – 7:30 am

Wake-up Call

7:30 am – 8:30 am


8:30 am – 10:00 am

Bridging the Gap

10:00 am – 10:30 am

Roll Call

10:45 am – 12:00 noon

Prejudice and Privilege

12:00 noon – 12:45 pm


12:45 pm – 1:00 pm

Volunteer Discussion

1:00 pm – 4:45 pm

Volunteer Activity – Pay It Forward

4:45 pm – 5:00 pm

Personal Reflection

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm


6:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Talent Show Prep

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Talent Show

8:30 pm – 10:30 pm


11:00 pm

Lights Out



7:00 am – 7:30 am

Wake-up Call

7:30 am – 8:30 am


8:00 am – 8:30 am

(Optional) Interfaith Reflection

8:30 am – 9:30 am

Thank-you Note Writing

9:30 am – 11:00 am

Life After MYL

11:00 am – 11:30 am

Personal Reflection

11:00 am – 12 noon

PARENTS ONLY Presentation

11:30 am – 11:45 am

Dress for Ceremony

12:00 noon – 1:00 pm

Closing Luncheon

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Closing Ceremonies

3:00 pm