News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners

Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director Ÿ Melonie Marano, Commissioner Deputy Director

Sara Sooy, Commissioner Ÿ Paul Drake, Commissioner Ÿ Doug Singleterry, Commissioner

For Immediate Release
May 7, 2024

Youth Leadership Somerset Seeks Applicants for

2024-2025 Program Year

SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ – Youth Leadership Somerset, a nine-month community leadership program for Somerset County youth entering grades 10-12, is accepting applications for the 2024-2025 class year. The application deadline is Friday, May 24.

“Youth Leadership Somerset offers young people a wonderful opportunity to interact with community leaders and explore issues that are impacting their communities,” said Commissioner Deputy Director Sara Sooy, program liaison.

The program incorporates interactive programming, small group challenges and presentations by community leaders to help participants explore a wide variety of topics, including local government, human services, justice, healthcare, the environment, and culture.

“I’ve had the pleasure of attending Saturday sessions and I find it valuable to hear students speak about community issues that are most important to them,” said Commission Paul Drake, Youth Leadership Somerset liaison. “During the justice session, students participate in a mock trial. Everyone has a designated role such as the attorneys, judge, jury, and defendants. They did such a great job that I could easily imagine some of them pursuing a career in law, if that is their interest.”

Feedback from past participants: 


“Youth Leadership Somerset gave me a broader perspective of the world and how I can impact the community around me now and in the future. For anyone interested in this program, it is a one in a lifetime opportunity and I’m so grateful for the experience.”


“Youth Leadership Somerset has been a wonderful place to ponder important economic and social questions. The sessions have been filled with discovery and growth.”

Application and Deadline Information

Sessions are held one Saturday per month, September through May, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Class size is limited to 40 students.

Students are asked to review the class schedule carefully to ensure that they can attend all sessions.

The application can be found on the county website at The deadline is Friday, May 24.

Candidates who are accepted to the program will be notified in August, and will receive a full scholarship to ensure that financial status is not a barrier.

For more information, contact Youth Leadership Somerset Coordinator Lisa Weinstock at


About Youth Leadership Somerset

Developed by the Leadership Somerset Class of 2000, Youth Leadership Somerset is sponsored by the Somerset County Board of Commissioners. To learn about the adult leadership program, contact us at or visit the website at Leadership Somerset.

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