The UF Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership & Sustainability Summer Program Summer Program

Dear Parents,

Thank you for your interest in our pre-college summer program. Each summer, since 2007, we have hosted a group of high school students here at the University of Florida. In fact, we now have over 300 Alumni who are studying at colleges and universities across the nation. Our Alumni tell us that the Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership & Sustainability Summer Program (YELS) is an informative, exciting, inspiring, and life changing experience. It is not summer camp-- where students hang out, enjoying the long, lazy days of summer. YELS participants are busy. Every day they take two college-level courses, do community service, and have an evening activity. Yes, there is free time for rest, relaxation, and reflection, but YELS students stay busy, as they tell us they accomplish more during their short stay at YELS than they do during a typical school year.

In 2015, our 45 students together completed more than 3975 hours of community service. Diversity is very important to us. In the past, approximately 25% of our students have received full or partial scholarships. At YELS don't just talk about entrepreneurship, leadership, and sustainability-- we do our best to walk our talk. Since 2010 we have run the program entirely carbon-neutral. For example, in 2015 we consumed 20.644 tons and offset 76.1 tons = 55.456 tons of extra carbon offsets, so our footprint was better than zero! During our first nine summers, our students had 593 opportunities to meet with and learn from successful entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, leaders, and changemakers— building their networks of contacts (and growing the Gator Nation)! For more about our impact each summer, see our Infographic.


We are concerned about the health and safety of the Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership &Sustainability Summer Program participants. We make a strong effort to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students both while they are on campus and while they are in the community, including:

- Selecting excellent, skilled staff members. The Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership &Sustainability Summer Program staff includes high achieving, well-trained, motivated leaders who who have experience and interest in entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and community service. We have hired the most qualified instructors, program coordinators, and resident assistants (RAs) to staff the program. We are also fortunate to have a team of outstanding volunteers including distinguished faculty and staff of UF's Center for Entrepreneurship &Innovation, special guest speakers, and talented UF alumni mentors.

- Partnering with respected local community agencies and organizations for the community service placements. Each community partner has been approved by UF's Center for Leadership &Service and has a strong reputation. Students will be given an orientation educating them about potential risks that may exist while volunteering and precautions they can take to minimize this risk to the greatest extent possible.

- Providing appropriate supervision. While students are ultimately responsible for their own conduct, our administrative, instructional, and residential staff all work together to provide clear guidelines and reasonable supervision. The student to staff ratio is 6:1, or less. Students are not permitted to leave campus unsupervised.


Accepted students are required to submit a set of medical forms, including verification of medical insurance coverage and immunization records. Students who become ill or injured will be taken to a local immediate or emergency care center for treatment.


If your student needs accommodations for a learning, physical, medical, dietary, or mental health issue, you must contact notify us as soon as possible so that we can arrange for appropriate accommodations to be provided. Documentation must include the diagnosis of the disability, specific functional limitations for both academic and residential settings, and recommended accommodations.

We have a very limited number of spaces available so we can offer each student individual attention while creating a community experience. We encourage your student to apply as soon as possible, in order to increase their likelihood of being accepted. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us anytime.

With excitement,

Kristin E. Joys, Ph. D.

Kristin E. Joys, Ph.D.
Director, Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership &Sustainability Summer Program for High School Students