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The Youth Climate Ambassadors (YCA) Leadership Program provides 9-12th grade students in San Mateo County with the opportunity to dive into social and environmental issues contributing to the global climate crisis. During this 6 month-long program, students will attend monthly online 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.

Students will work towards developing and implementing an impact project that addresses local sustainability issues throughout the first six months of the program. 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-12th grade when applying to the program
  • Be available on designated workshop and retreat dates

Over the course of the year, Youth Climate Ambassadors will

Attend workshop sessions and acquire knowledge in:

  • Climate Change
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Resource Conservation
  • Environmental Advocacy
  • 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:

  • Attending YCA retreats and workshops
  • Completing the YCA tasks and assignments
  • Completing a final case study report
  • Completing a community impact project
  • Presenting their project at a graduation capstone event
timeline and structureTimeline & Structure

The 2024 – 2025 YCA program will begin in late September 2024. The program consists of:

  • Program kick-off retreat (IN PERSON)
  • 1 – 2 Monthly YCA cohort meetings (Thursdays from 7:00-9:00pm) (ONLINE)
  • Monthly mentoring calls with YCA staff (ONLINE)
  • Mid-point retreat (IN PERSON)
  • Closing Retreat (IN PERSON)
Participants who successfully complete all program requirements are eligible for a YCA graduate stipend.
Empowering youth to take action on climate change in their local community

YCA Workshops, Retreats, & Impact Project

people connecting with nature


There will be two online workshops each month with the full YCA cohort. These workshops serve as the cornerstone of this program and provide ongoing opportunities for learning, skills development, community building, connecting with guest speakers, exploring green careers, and impact project support. Workshops take place on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month from 7:00-9:00pm.

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 three separate full-day experiences throughout their cohort year. These retreats will be on Saturdays at a pre-selected and centralized location in San Mateo County. Each retreat will serve as a benchmark event in the program and will focus around deeper skill building, taking collective action, and building awareness of local environmental issues and solutions.

  • Opening Retreat: Saturday, October 28, 2023 – Location TBD
  • Mid-Point Retreat: Saturday, January 20, 2024 – Location TBD
  • Closing Retreat: Saturday, April 27, 2024 – Location TBD


Climate Ambassadors will work individually or in teams to design and implement a community impact project (CIP) 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 CIP action plan at the monthly workshops in the second half of the program (January – March 2024)
  • Implementation: Students will be supported to implement their projects. Students will also be able to utilize a budget of up to $500 for project implementation!
  • Capstone Event: Students will present on their projects at the Capstone Event, which will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2024. The event will also serve as a final graduation to the program.

Apply for Cohort 5 of the Youth Climate Ambassador program today! Select the ‘apply’ button above to begin your application. Applications for the upcoming cohort of the program will close on Monday, September 18, at 11:59 PM.

Have questions about the program? Please contact