Roving Leaders teach life skills and incorporate social-emotional learning to explore difficult topics teens encounter daily, such as violence, addiction and peer pressure. Youth are given a safe space to practice problem solving and encouraged to use critical thinking skills. The philosophy of the program is to aid and enhance the quality of life for the teens of Austin by providing a variety of quality recreation, education and cultural activities.

Roving Leaders

Program History

The Roving Leaders outreach program began in February of 1998 and remained in operation until 2002. By establishing relationships founded on respect and trust, the staff served as supportive, safe adults, positive role models and mentors for youth ages 5-19 living in lower socioeconomic and high-risk communities. In a case study interview, Roving Leaders participants indicated a positive impact on their quality of life. The community benefited due to a reduction of juvenile crime, truancy, drug use and teen pregnancy. The program was ended in 2002 due to budgetary constraints.

Roving Leaders outreach program banner illustration

Present Day

In 2013, City Council approved unmet needs to reinstate the Roving Leaders outreach program with services directed towards youth ages 12-18 that focus on building character, developing leadership skills and providing access to technology. Described by many as a “recreation center on wheels,” the leaders rove the communities, carrying equipment and supplies for impromptu activities and lessons. These activities serve mainly as a medium through which the leaders can build rapport with the teens and further develop the teen’s life skills.The staff serve as positive role models while guiding participants through activities, lessons and field trips designed to build character and present leadership opportunities. Teens demonstrate leadership through civic engagement, community advocacy and service learning projects. Youth participants are also provided chances to utilize technology as a mechanism for self-expression, a forum for advocacy and as a method of career and talent exploration.

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Modeled as a field trip based program that strives to create fun in a positive and supportive environment for teens to learn, grow, and gain confidence while working together to create and embrace community. Roving Leaders provide tools and resources for teens to be prepared for college, the professional workforce and mature into a model citizen. Participants will be exposed to lessons in health/nutrition, art design, leadership advancement, character development, team building, job breadiness, social awareness and civic duty.

  • Transportation to and from the program
  • Meal provided
  • No cost to participants
  • Links participants to services offered in the community

Tell a friend, there’s a Roving Leaders program near you!

Roving Leaders Program - illustration of teens and Austin skyline