The National Society for Youth Leadership (NSYL) is a catalyst in the development, growth, and sustainability of organizations committed to providing extraordinary positive leadership development and service opportunities for our nation’s youth. NSYL serves these organizations through accreditation. Currently, six organizations are accredited by NSYL: Illinois Leadership Seminars (ILS), Minnesota MILE (MNMile), Michigan Youth Leadership (MYLead), Missouri Leadership Seminars (MLS), and Wisconsin Leadership Seminars (WILS), Northern California Leadership Seminars (NCYLS), and LeaderSpark (Ohio). Organizations accredited by NSYL are autonomous entities privileged to NSYL services, subject to accreditation standards.

Each year, NSYL-accredited organizations provide empowering, confidence-boosting leadership development interventions for hundreds of high school students across the country.

NSYL Accreditation Standards

To be accredited by NSYL requires adherence to high standards in youth leadership development. These learning outcomes are outlined below:

Leadership. Provide opportunities to enable participants to further realize and act on their potential to be a leader in their school and community. Specifically:
      - Increase participant internal motivation and energy.
      - Increase participant self-confidence in their ability to lead and serve.
      - Increase participant desire to serve others through their positive leadership.
Positive. Provide leadership development opportunities that are positively reaffirming of participant’s potential and provides exposure to positive peers and adult role models.
Diversity. Provide leadership development opportunities that offer participants a rich experience that includes exposure to varied perspectives and backgrounds. Examples of how diversity can be achieved include participant selection processes (such as including diverse geographic regions and enabling participation regardless of socioeconomic status) as well as through program components (such as speaker and activity selection).
Service. Provide leadership development opportunities that emphasize the value of service to one’s community. This can be achieved directly through service projects as well as indirectly through activities such as service project planning by participants.
Ongoing. Provide ongoing opportunities for support and growth of program alums.

      - Affiliates must embody the learning outcomes described above in the internal operations of the affiliate, being oriented towards continuous improvement of affiliate’s programs.
      - Affiliates must provide leadership development programs on at least an annual basis.
      - Compliance with NSYL prescribed risk management best practices.
      - Affiliates must not be in direct competition with other affiliates per age group and geographic region.
      - Prompt payment for all services accredited organizations leverages from NSYL, including annual accreditation and membership fee.


Year after year, students, parents, schools, and volunteers of member organizations have all experienced first-hand the positive impact these programs have on youth leaders. A recent survey found participants in NSYL-accredited programs:

    - Become more likely to be viewed as a leader and positive role model by their peers.
    - Spend more time participating in extra-curricular and other community service activities.
    - Have increased motivation to serve others.
    - Experience a long-lasting reduction in the emotions often associated with negative peer pressure.
    - Are more likely to have specific, written goals for their future. Written goals are a key indicator of individual success.
    - Are more likely to feel they can make a difference in their school.
    - Feel more self-confident and more empowered to make a difference in their schools and communities.
    - Have increased their GPA to an average of 3.81.
    - Would recommend the experience to a friend.


NSYL-accredited organizations have access to the following resources.
    - Membership in a community of like-minded organizations which share ideas and best practices, collaborating through online forums, discussions, and an annual conference.
    - Group liability insurance.
    - Online services including nomination and registration tracking systems.
    - Suggested curriculum developed in partnership with experts in leadership development and designed to assist in developing and sustaining quality programs.
    - Strategic alliances formed by NSYL for the benefit of affiliated organizations.
    - Continued leadership growth opportunities for program alums.
    - Use of the NSYL name and logo in organization materials.