CADCA’s Youth Leadership Program

Youth are not leading tomorrow but leading now! There has never been a time like the present for youth to rise to leadership roles in their coalitions and address the pressing issues facing our communities. CADCA’s Youth Leadership Training Courses develop critical thinking skills in youth and equip them with necessary tools to help coalitions achieve community-level change. Our training empowers young people to take youth-led civic action in their communities.

The Key Essentials Course equips participants with the foundational tools needed to take the first steps in solving their communities’ problems around drugs, underage drinking, prescription drugs and other social ills using the Strategic Prevention Framework.

The Leveling Up Communities Course offers new insight into the work we do within our communities, to ensure that it impacts all community members, especially those who need it most. Health equity is becoming an integral concept within substance misuse prevention efforts, and this track will address how we can facilitate change in our communities through this perspective.


  • Become more engaged Youth Leaders through an introduction of the 7 C’s of Leadership
  • Learn and apply the Strategic Prevention Framework process
  • Learn and apply components of a Community Assessment
  • Conduct a Problem Analysis
  • Develop an Action Plan for next steps for a “Youth- In-Action” Project


  • Gain an understanding and be able to effectively communicate key concepts relating to health equity in coalition work
  • Ability to create and deliver plans to embed equity in coalition work
  • Create a Recruitment Plan, with a focus on equitable and sustainable recruitment
  • Create and present and Advocacy Plan
  • Create an Action Plan to create equitable, community-level change


  • Gain skills and techniques to be an effective speaker.
  • Discuss various drug trends & topics and how they apply to coalition prevention work.
  • Identify common risk and protective factors in mental health and substance use.
  • Describe best practices in working and engaging peers in coalition work.
  • Understand what resilience means, the importance of developing resilience skills, and how to apply these in your community.
  • Understand the relationship between social media, drugs, human trafficking, and mental health.


  1. There are three separate youth leadership training tracks at Mid-Year; please register your group (#’s of adult advisors and youth) for one of the following tracks: the Key Essentials Training or Leveling Up Communities Training or Youth Leadership Breakout Session Training. Please pre-select your training track utilizing this link.
  2. Many of our youth leaders have already completed Key Essentials and LUC, therefore we want to offer additional training opportunities for youth to attend. Please see the description of our new Youth Leadership Breakout Track for more information!
  3. As the coalition adult advisor(s) and ongoing support for the work that will happen with your youth group when you return to your community, Coalition Adult Advisors are required to participate with youth for all youth leadership trainings. Please confirm adult advisors from your youth coalitions that will participate in all training segments with the youth (excluding for special breakout session for adult advisors).
  4. We must have a Parent Consent Form for every youth.


Is there a consent form to complete?
Yes, A consent form is required for all registered youth 18 years old or younger.  Please complete and submit one here.

What are the age requirements? 
The Youth Leadership Courses are designed for ages 13–20-year-old; however, email us if you have an exception.

Are adults required to participate with the youth in youth leadership courses? 
Yes, adult advisors are required to participate with their youth throughout the process. CADCA’s Youth Leadership model is a specialized training built on establishing healthy adult-youth partnerships and expects adults to work with youth throughout the training sessions. This is not a chaperone role, but instead a coach/mentor from the coalition who will support the implementation of strategies developed upon returning to the coalition.

What is the attire? 
The attire is casual during training sessions. Nothing too tight, loose, short or revealing.

What to bring? 
If your coalition has community data, please bring it! (for ex: youth survey data)

Do the youth follow the same adult schedule? 
Yes and no. For the most part youth will follow the main Mid-Year Schedule with the exception of the Youth Meet-Up N’ Chill and Youth Talent Show. Please see schedule below for more details. Schedule is subject to change, so please check back prior to your departure.