The Youth Leadership Council (YLC) of Licking County was established in 2011 as a way to address and encourage youth-led prevention and leadership development in Licking County. Backed by decades of programs including Youth to Youth International, PRIDE Youth Programs and the Licking County stand Team, the YLC was the next chapter in youth engagement across the county.

An exploratory planning group led by Bobby Persinger was formed and included Jan GreenRiver, Kris Washington, Chelsea Goldstein, Jennifer Utrevis, Dr. Lew Mollica, and Granville High School student Julie Archer.

The vision was simple, a group that gave high school students the opportunity to take a leadership role within the community and impact change while addressing behavioral health concerns including substance use, bullying, suicide and other violence. With guidance from Pathways of Central Ohio and support from Our Futures in Licking County, the first group of YLC Representatives were selected in March of 2011.

Cycle One: 2011-2012 
Nineteen students from 7 of the 12 high schools in Licking County were selected to serve as members of the first cycle (year.) Once established, the YLC members organized themselves and developed the structure they wanted to work under. They established a leadership core and elected the first slate of Executives consisting of GHS student Julie Archer (president), WMHS student Kirsten Strickland (vice president), NCHS student Julia Roche (treasurer) and LHHS student Joshlyn Hall (secretary) and established a mission statement which directed all their activities. The Council would direct all their efforts toward helping to make Licking County a happy, healthy, safe and drug free place to live, work and go to school.

In that premiere year, the Council completed xxx hours of community engagement including being named the inaugural winners of the Youth-led Prevention PSA contest hosted by the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services. The winning video informed and educated people on the impacts of abusing prescription medications. Additionally that first year, the YLC was featured on the nationally televised talk show, Joy in Our Town and were chosen to help establish a state-wide youth philanthropy council; which later become OYLPN, the Ohio Youth-led Prevention Network. In addition to these honors, the Youth Leadership Council began a trend in developing strong youth in Licking County through youth-led prevention.

Cycle One Leadership:
President: Julie Archer
Vice President: Kirsten Strickland
Treasurer: Julia Roche
Secretary: Joshlyn Hall
Communications Director: Camden Argyle
Resource Development Director: Jovana Bogdanovska
Leadership Development Director:  Lauren Payton
Historian: Tawnee GreenRiver

Cycle Two: 2012-2013
June 2012 brought about the second cycle of the YLC and 25 students from 8 of the 12 high schools were selected to participate. Willie Henderson became the first Newark High School student to serve on the Council and Julie Archer from Granville was re-elected Council President. On August 17, 2012 the YLC, working with staff members from the Licking County Health Department, witnessed the unanimous passage of a resolution from the Licking County Board of Commissioners banning smoking on all county-owned property, a process they had been working on for three months.

YLC members also helped to plan and implement the first We Are the MAJORITY campaign and rally hosted by the Ohio Youth-led Prevention Network (OYLPN). 750 student youth-led leaders from across Ohio marched on the statehouse and proclaimed that the majority of high school students did not engage in substance use or violent behavior. With the Prevention Marquee Project, YLC partnered with 13 businesses across the county and over a 12-month span, used their marquees to educate the community about the benefits of youth-led prevention in Licking County. The iPROM (i PROMISE TO RETURN ON MONDAY) campaign engaged local flower shops, tux shops and hair salons to help promote safe and healthy prom nights to all juniors and seniors at all 12 high schools in Licking County. In addition, 25 students and faculty from each school were selected to wear “iPROM” t-shirts the day before prom and positive prevention messages were delivered over the announcements and radio stations across the county.

Cycle Two Leadership:
President: Julie Archer (GHS)
Vice President: Jesi Hosmer (WMHS)
Treasurer: Zach Heller (WMHS)
Secretary: Sidney Loar (HHS)
Communications Director: Katelyn Gorius (NCHS)
Community Service Director: Willie Henderson (NHS)
Resource Development Director: Emily Harrington (LVHS)
Leadership Development Director: Abby McGonagle (GHS)
Historian: Emily Clayton (WMHS)