Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders

Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders (I-YEL) is a high school leadership program for youth attending San Francisco public schools. Through event planning, project management, community involvement, and environmental trips, participants learn the skills necessary to be stronger leaders in their community. 


“3FM was a free food and free movies event that we planned. Our goal was to teach youth about the Buffalo Soldiers and tell them about Backyard Bound. It was pivotal in the personal improvement of lesson planning among the interns, and Backyard Bound would not have been as successful without it.” –Cameron Jo, 1st year I-YEL intern

The program has grown steadily since its start in 2001, successfully building a foundation of participants and partners. The youth-led program plans to reach out to new audiences through the use of a multimedia newsletter that updates existing supporters and encourages a new generation of park users to follow and support the youth leadership program.

In addition, the I-YEL staff will begin a pilot program with Leadership High School, a San Francisco Unified School District approved charter school that prepares students for success in college and adult life through traditional academic and broad human skills. The pilot program will be the first off-site youth development program in I-YEL’s history.

Finally, next year’s annual youth-led summit Backyard Bound will grow in its capacity to host Bay Area youth and explore youth leadership in the field of environmental conservation. The event will expand to a three-day, two-night model, allowing for more outdoor experiential activities, skill-building workshops, and engaging conversations with youth.


“Being new to the program gave me a lot of opportunities to enrich my mind and voice like never before. During Backyard Bound I was able to lead a group of youth, at times on my own, and that really gave me a sense of leadership and value that I would not gain from anywhere else. Watching youth our age participate and interact with each other and find ownership in their parks made me feel really good about what I was doing.” –Gisele Arguello, 1st year I-YEL intern

17 Youth participants

5 Home languages spoken

7 Different cultural backgrounds

56 Participants from 5 different youth organizations involved with Backyard Bound: Centennial Edition in Yosemite National Park

30 Attendees at 3FM, an event for high school youth

10 Youth organization collaborations around the Bay Area

Backyard Bound >>
Backyard Bound is an annual youth-developed and youth-led summit planned with the community for the community.

Contact Information

Elyse Wood
(415) 561-7760

Guilder Ramirez
(415) 561-7751