Youth Leaders in Agriculture

We believe that the farm is a powerful place for young people to learn and grow. The Youth Leadership in Agriculture (YLA) is a Career Education & Mentoring initiative at the Project GROWS farm that teaches high school juniors and seniors skills in farming, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

During the school year, YLA functions as a Mentorship placement that takes place at the farm in the afternoon during Staunton High School’s fourth block, three days per week.

During the summer, we offer six paid, part-time YLA positions at approximately 24 hours per week, June 1st through July 22nd.

What kinds of activities do Youth Leaders engage in at the farm? Youth Leaders serve as members of the farm crew as we work together to plant, tend, harvest, and package our summer crops for distribution throughout the community. Students also assist with K-12 education programs and summer camps, go on field trips to other local farms, hear from guest speakers, and participate in outdoor lessons based on small-scale, diversified, sustainable agriculture!

What high schools do you serve? The summer program is open to students from all local high schools. Currently, the spring and fall program is only open to students from Staunton High School.

Do you offer transportation? Staunton City Schools provides Staunton High School students no-cost transportation to and from the farm during the school year and the summer.

How old do I have to be to participate? The summer program is open to high school students who are at least 16 years old on the start date of the position. The school year program is open to all high school juniors and seniors.

How do I apply? Summer 2022 applications will be available on our Jobs page starting in March. Staunton High School students interested in the school year program should contact their school counselor. For more information about the YLA program, please contact Nichole Barrows, Director of Education.

“At Project GROWS, I was involved in a variety of projects, from pulling up old tarps at the end of winter to building a seeding setup for the greenhouse, weeding garden beds, seeding plants, and transplanting seedlings into the ground. On top of the physical skills I learned at Project GROWS, I also learned how to be a better leader and collaborator. Project GROWS taught me invaluable lessons about permaculture, crop rotations, and how to be confident in the work that I do.
I firmly believe that Project GROWS is a place not just where plants grow, but where people grow too.”

Fiona McGhee
2021 Youth Leader in Agriculture
Staunton High School ’21

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