What opportunities does being an Aspen Young Leaders Fellow provide me with?
The mission of the Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship is to build and cultivate youth leadership skills, and diversify the leadership pool on a local level. Fellows will develop leadership skills to solve community problems and make tangible change - turning their ideas into action through design based thinking and entrepreneurial endeavors based on personal passion areas.

Fellows will also build their personal and professional networks by becoming part of the Aspen Institute family and are eligible for other national events. Fellows will be considered for other opportunities in the Youth & Engagement division and other programs. Fellows will become part of an elite network of national and international values-based leaders who are taking on the challenges of their regions, their countries and the world.
I want to make community change and I have some ideas, but I haven't started putting my ideas into action. Should I still apply?
Yes, definitely! AYLF is designed to fine tune and further develop your ideas. We support our Fellows through design-based thinking that facilitates a better understanding of community issues and perspectives, which will equip you with the tools, skills and social capital to make meaningful change. 
 
What are the education requirements to be a Fellow?
There are none! Fellows will be selected based on potential – not necessarily the best grades or even school attendance but signs of strong leadership qualities, behaviors and traits. We encourage those who are either currently in school (high school, college, community college, online, technical program, etc.), currently working full or part time, or exhibiting leadership qualities in their community through other paths to apply.
What makes this program unique are the questions, discussion topics, and modes of learning that are different from the usual classroom experience. Have you ever wondered: what's my purpose? what are my values? how can I make a difference? how can I connect with people who don't think or look like me? or I've got an idea, but I don't know where to start. If you're curious about these questions, you have the potential and interest to join AYLF.
Is there a stipend for participating in the Fellowship?
The Fellowship will cover reasonable transportation expenses (lodging and travel) and meals during seminars. For cohorts beginning in 2018, Fellows will engage in a 7-week Social Entrepreneur program. Fellows will be paid during this program.
What if I have a job? Will the Aspen Institute reimburse participants for missed time during the seminars?
Yes. Employees who are selected to be Fellows will receive a stipend once they submit the required documentation from their employer.
How many seminars will Fellows be expected to attend?
Fellows will attend 9 seminars over the course of 15 months. All seminars are mandatory and must be attended in full. For cohorts starting in 2018, Fellows will engage in a 7-week Social Entrepreneur program, which consists of 40 hours of design based thinking and project implementation work per week, and one in-person session per week with coaches and the cohort.
How long are the seminars?
Accepted Fellows will attend a 3-day orientation in their hometown (no lodging required). The second seminar lasts 7 days at the end of June.
Seminars 3-8 begin Friday evening with a group dinner; programming then continues all-day Saturday.
The final seminar consists of 9 days of programming, culminating in a one-of-a-kind 'graduation' experience after which the 7-week Social Entrepreneur program begins.  
Is there any travel associated with being a Fellow?
No. The Fellowship experience is place-based, meaning all in-person programming will take place in a Fellow's hometown community.
 
Is English proficiency required?
Yes, Fellows must be fluent in spoken and written English as all programming will be conducted in English.
 
What if an applicant is not selected to be a Fellow?
Fellows can apply up to three times for a future cohort, as long as they continue to meet the age requirements (between 16 and 20 years old at the first seminar date). We also recommend that when reapplying, applicants update their application with relevant information regarding community engagement and leadership experiences.
What is the Aspen Institute?
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.