Summer Leadership Program

Interested in applying for our 2017 Summer Leadership Program? Click here to apply now.

(Video created in 2010 by Erika Simon, a Hines Fellow from The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke.)

The Summer Leadership Program (SLP) began in 1995, with SLP 2017 marking our 23rd summer. The program provides young people aged 14-19 with an exciting, powerful and life-changing summer of community building, political education and leadership development. Young people come to SLP concerned about injustice and ready to learn more, and emerge from SLP ready to be part of a broader movement for social change.

High-school-age students from Boston's diverse neighborhoods, surrounding communities, and outlying suburbs participate in the Summer Leadership Program. Youth who have participated have come from high schools including City on a Hill, Winchester High, Boston Latin Academy, Beaver Country Day, Madison Park, Boston Arts Academy, Milton Academy, Cambridge Rindge and Latin, Brookline High, Boston Latin School and and many others.

Once accepted into the Summer Leadership Program, students participate in a three-day, two-night retreat in order to explore identity, power and privilege build a sense of community. Then they launch into six and a half weeks of intensive seminar learning, and concrete community action projects, all tackling critical issues of social justice.

An Average SLP Day: SLP Youth begin Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in a large Assembly created by the Youth Staff team, which brings the whole community together for fun events like Twin Day and Spirit Day. Afterwards, participants head to their issue-based Seminars. Seminar classes go deep into topics such as education, immigration, community organizing, housing, food justice, environmental justice, and more. Seminar Teachers are experienced youth workers, and often graduates of our program; they weave together actitivies, media, and more to give a rich view of the information being covered. 

With their Community Action Projects, students are working for social justice in Greater Boston. Previous Community Action Projects have included creating a conference for Boston Public School teachers to learn about restorative justice and liberatory education; protesting the American Correctional Association's conference in Boston; and engaging community members through street outreach on issues like cultural appropriation and body positivity.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays students spend their time in meaningful internships at community-based partner organizations. Our internship sites over the past few years have included: Boston Mobilization / SubUrban Justice, Beantown Society, Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project, Youth Justice and Power Union, Center to Support Immigrant Organizing, and many more!

After six and a half weeks of powerful programming, the Summer Leadership Program concludes with three events: the interactive Youth-Led Workshops on issues covered in Community Action Projects; We Rise Up, our closing retreat and celebration, and the Graduation commencement acknowleging all of the student achievement and growth throughout the course of the program.


"In SLP, I really opened up with my confidence because I learned that I shouldn't be afraid to stand up against things that are wrong with the world." -Zairy Lara, 16, Boston

"At SLP, I have grown so much especially through the summer. I was able to learn about Black History, about issues that we are facing as a community, and also how to make a change. It feels so good to have been a part of such a powerful community like SLP."  - Caciana Rosa, 16, Dorchester