Youth Leaders in Kansas (YLinK) Program

Youth Leaders in Kansas, known more commonly around the state by its acronym, YLINK, offers an opportunity for young adults to develop community awareness and youth leadership skills during the formative ages of 12 to 18 years. Various YLINK sites can be found in cities and small towns across the state of Kansas. They operate with the local support and guidance of caring adult volunteers, community partners, and alongside the youth's primary caregiver(s), especially parents.

YLinK provides youth a unique learning experience while interacting with peers, supportive adults, and their communities in positive ways which lays the foundation for successful future endeavors as they learn and explore the real world and their ability to contribute.

YLINK is a great resource for young adults with information on the importance of education and development of individual and group leadership skills in their local community, statewide and even nationally. The program provides an array of experiences which includes, but is not limited to, improving family and peer relationships, community engagement, incorporating knowledge and training for employment and/or vocational education and self-advocacy skills. There are also opportunities for youth to participate in the state legislative process and learn about politics and advocacy at every level.  Providing input to the Governor’s Behavioral Health Services Planning Council is a prime example.

YLINK supports a summer youth conference annually to celebrate the successes of its local groups.   The youth are joined by national speakers, attend breakout learning sessions on multiple topics, and have a lot of FUN! 

1st Annual YLINK Conference: Crosswinds Conference Center, Hesston August 5th, 2021.

For current conference information or to learn how to apply to become a YLINK group:

Contact: Doug Bowman - KDADS Youth Engagement Specialist

The program is supported through grant funds from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services/Behavioral Health Services.

Current YLinK sites include:

  • Sumner County: Wellington
  • Sumner County: Belle Plaine
  • Independence
  • McPherson County
  • Wyandotte County
  • Butler County: Augusta
  • Butler County: Andover
  • Butler County: El Dorado
  • Harvey County: Newton
  • Harvey County: Hesston
  • Harvey County: Peabody
  • Harvey cCounty: Burrton
  • Harvey County: Halstead
  • Sedgwick County: Sedgwick
  • Reno County
  • Barton County

Application for the Governor's Behavioral Health Services Planning Council Youth Advisory Council

Click here to complete the questions to apply for the opportunity to represent the voice of Gen Z from all over Kansas, advocate for your generation, advise the Governor's Behavioral Health Services Planning Council and create real and lasting change in the state of Kansas.

Requirements for Youth Members:

  • Must be 14 to 19 years old (eligible if in high school until end of summer after high school graduation)
  • Must attend bimonthly meetings
  • Must be passionate about voicing needs of youth at the state level