Orange County, New York



Orange County has been named one of the nation’s 100 Best Communities for Young People for a second year in a row because of the community’s various leadership development and educational initiatives to support youth. The Summer Youth Leadership Academies provide more than 200 middle school youth in seven communities with opportunities to explore leadership styles, build skills, plan and implement service projects and connect with peers. The program runs five days a week for four weeks in the summer to help aid middle school students in their upcoming transition to high school. The Orange County Youth Bureau has provided the community with a centralized location for youth services since 1978, partnering with organizations such as the United Way and the Chamber of Commerce to develop new programs like Junior Leadership Orange, a program that allows the community to identify emerging youth leaders to participate in a seven month leadership development program which includes workshops that demonstrate how various sectors (private, public, faith, nonprofit) interact to form communities.

Community Programs

  • The Partners Initiative, a collaborative Youth Master Planning Initiative, includes youth, families, and local funders as well as national technical assistance resources.
  • The Youth Bureau’s Master Planning process uses tools from Ready by 21 and Results Based Accountability to focus on youth and family outcome indicators as specified by NYS Touchstones.
  • The Summer Youth Leadership Academies will be expanded to nine sites in 2011; the program provides middle school students with opportunities to develop leadership skills, execute a service project, and connect with other youth.
  • Junior Leadership Orange , Orange County’s newest initiative to support youth, is a partnership between the Youth Bureau, United Way and Chamber of Commerce with a mission to provide emerging leaders with knowledge, skills, and motivation through participation in a seven-month leadership development curriculum.
  • The Girls Circle and Boys Council programs has helped over 300 youth since 2010 build relationships to develop coping strategies and skills  for exploring feelings.
  • The Summer Youth Leadership Academy provides youth the opportunity to participate in leadership training and service projects in their community.

Youth Voices

I have learned to do many things in my four years in 4H.  I was chosen for a new 4H Teen Leadership and Career Development program that has just started. 4H is a terrific program.


Besides academic teams there are musical programs like the Spring Musical, which gives an experience as close to Broadway for the performer and the audience. This makes youth feel much pride in oneself and want to accomplish even more.