The Youth Climate Ambassadors (YCA) Leadership Program provides 9-11th grade students in San Mateo County with the opportunity to dive into social and environmental issues contributing to the global climate crisis. During this year-long program, students will attend monthly workshops that cover a variety of topics to strengthen their knowledge in climate change, build individual skills, and support regional capacity among youth to lead action on climate change.

Additionally, students will work towards developing and implementing an impact project that addresses local sustainability issues throughout the year. While developing their impact project, students will gain experience in a variety of skills including observations, data collection, interviews, survey design, problem solving, and more, based on student interest and the project. At the end of the program, there will be a graduation event for students to present on their impact project.

See YCA Program requirements, outcomes, timeline, and structure below:


In order to be accepted into the YCA Program, the applicant must

  • Live or go to school in San Mateo County
  • Be in 9th-11th grade when applying to the program
  • Be available on designated workshop dates


Over the course of the year, Youth Ambassadors will

Attend 18 workshop sessions and acquire knowledge in:

  • Climate Change
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Resource Conservation
  • Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
  • Environmental Justice
  • Climate Solutions

Receive mentorship and develop leadership skills including:

  • Communication and public speaking
  • Identifying and defining a problem
  • Problem solving
  • Observation and data collection
  • Interviewing and surveys
  • Leadership and collaboration

Complete other required activities, such as:

  • Participating in the YCA online forum
  • Completing the YCA workbook
  • Completing a final case study report
  • Completing a school or community impact project
  • Presenting their project at a graduation capstone event

Timeline & Structure

The YCA program runs for one year, starting in January and ending December. Climate Ambassadors will attend a total of 18 workshops throughout the year.

  • 2 retreats
  • 7 in-person workshops
  • 8 online workshops
  • 1 graduation event

The YCA program includes three regional chapters across San Mateo County: North Chapter, South Chapter, and Coastal Chapter. Climate Ambassadors are assigned chapters based on student preference, availability, and distance from school and/or home. During the program, Climate Ambassadors will meet in-person with their chapter monthly and will meet online with the whole YCA cohort.

Participants who successfully complete all program requirements are eligible for a $500 stipend.

Empowering youth to take action on climate
change in their local community

YCA Workshops, Retreats, & Impact Project



There will be two gatherings each month – one in-person at the regional chapters, and one online through Zoom. These workshops serve as the cornerstone of this program and provide ongoing opportunities for learning, skills development, community building, connecting with guest speakers and career pathways, and action plan support.

In Person: Ambassadors will be in regional cohorts that will meet from 7:00-9:00pm on the schedule below (we will also provide transportation stipends to students who qualify for free and reduced lunch):

  • Coast: First Monday of the month
  • North: First Tuesday of the month
  • South: First Wednesday of the month
  • Online: Zoom call will take place on the 3rd Wednesday of the Month

In between workshops, Ambassadors will research and explore the current practices, operations, and culture of their school/communities and conduct interviews in the community. This research will help identify local problems and issues that will become the central focus of the community impact project.



Climate Ambassadors will attend one full-day field experience over the summer. The event will serve as a mid-point retreat and will focus around deeper skill building, taking collective action, and building awareness of local environmental issues and solutions. This will be offered on two different dates to accommodate the summer schedules of all Ambassadors.



Climate Ambassadors will work individually or in teams to design and implement a community impact project that makes some aspect of their school or greater community more environmentally sustainable (“green”).

  • Action Plan: Students will receive support and guidance on developing their action plan at the monthly workshops (both in-person and online) from Spring – Fall 2020.
  • Implementation: Students will be supported to implement their projects in Fall 2020. Students can also apply for a mini-grant of up to $500 for project implementation!
  • Capstone Event: Dec. 5: Students will present on their projects at the Capstone Event, which will take place on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. The event will also serve as a final graduation to the program.

Application currently closed. Please check back in the fall to apply to the 2021 YCA cohort.