The Three Pillars of the YLDP: Faith, Character, and Patriotism are the foundations of the YLDP Curriculum, and its instructional process and activities. Hence, the Curriculum is not limited to the monthly lessons and group discussions but is the “experiencing” of the YLDP.
Faith is a focus of every meeting and activity, as all meetings and activities open with a group prayer. These “prayers” provide a direct and reverent acknowledgment of a power higher than ourselves, God. It also allows students to experience community identity with the idea of having and expressing Faith. Faith is front and center with the YLDP’s annual January meeting that is held in the sanctuary of the historic 16th Street Baptist Church. This special experience brings together history and faith in a very real and meaningful way.
Character is quite obviously the essence of the YLDP. Students know they have been chosen because of their demonstrated character in school. They also realize that if they excel in the YLDP, College Partners offer scholarships to them because of their demonstrated character in the YLDP. Therefore, to experience the YLDP is to come face to face with the meaning of character. To understand that character is not a nebulous term but is in fact how you live your life. The YLDP “experience” presents the true nature of character by introducing the students to the “universal morals,” and “essential morals” vital to having sound character. All YLDP lessons, activities, program service projects, and student created service projects are a constant and consistent experiencing of the meaning of character.
Patriotism is part and parcel of the entire experience of the YLDP. The “Pledge of Allegiance,” led by a student, is said at the opening of every meeting and performed in the traditional sense by all students. Whenever a YLDP Meeting or activity has the capability the “National Anthem” is played and traditional participation and respect is shown. Patriotism, although a constant stream within the YLDP experience, is most emphasized during the first quarter of the year. At the initial meeting in September, the students are assigned to a “Company” named in honor of one of the YLDP’s special Medal of Honor recipients i.e. Thorsness, Adkins, Morris, Livingston, Rose, Donlon, and Beikirch. Assignments, lessons, and activities for October are directly related to patriotism, the Medal of Honor, veterans, “Green Berets,” and The Command Sergeant Major Bennie Adkins Foundation. The Pillar of Patriotism comes to total fruition in the YLDP in November with the its annual “Walk For Warriors” and the annual YLDP Patriotism Program. Both of which dramatically bring to life the true meaning of Patriotism through student involvement, honored guests, special presentations, and the celebration of freedom, its cost and those who protect our freedom.
The YLDP is a nine-month Program that begins in September and ends in May. It conducts monthly meetings that start at 4:30 p.m. and end no later than 7:30 p.m. Typically, students sign in upon arrival. Each monthly meeting has a special guest speaker for approximately 60 minutes, which includes questions and answers. This is followed by a student group lesson focusing on faith, character, and/or patriotism. Active student participation is a part of each lesson. Every meeting concludes with students coming together to discuss group ideas, conclusions, and opinions. Students sign out before leaving. The student groups are specifically designed to include all aspects of the diversity within the YLDP and are assigned for the entire year.
In addition to monthly meetings, the YLDP operates numerous, staff approved, student created and enacted service projects. YLDP participation projects are also available to students to assist community organizations e.g. The CSM Bennie Adkins Foundation, The American Village, and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Whenever students plan a service project they are encouraged to focus on what morals are being experienced within the project, and also identify any aspect of the Pillars of Faith and/ or Patriotism as a part of the service experience.
The YLDP evaluation process is based on a point system, which is given to both students, and parents at Orientation. All YLDP students should understand that future success in the YLDP is entirely in their hands. All students begin equally and are informed that points are earned exclusively by active participation in the YLDP. In March qualified students can select up to three colleges, in order of preference, that they want to compete for scholarships to attend. Scholarship recipients are determined by the highest YLDP point totals. Through the experience of the fair and equal competition of the YLDP, students experience the joy found in having and successfully completing responsibility, an understanding of the work ethic needed to successfully compete, and experience the rewards earned for dedication, determination, and hard work. Whether students have earned one of the many YLDP scholarships or not, the YLDP provides many valuable and rewarding lessons and experiences that help prepare students for the next phase of their lives.is item.
A major component of the YLDP is its special relationship with its College Partners. These colleges actively support the belief that sound character is vital for leaders to possess. And that by supporting students of character they are helping to fulfill a major goal of higher education, preparing leaders of tomorrow. This support is shown by the scholarships they provide exclusively to the students of the YLDP. A very important component of the YLDP is to encourage students to be informed about different colleges, preferably of different sizes in order to be certain of where they believe they will be most successful, both academically and socially. The YLDP conducts two College Fairs in the first quarter of the year, which are only available to YLDP students, parents, and College Partners. The YLDP encourages students, and parents to arrange college visits to our YLDP College Partners. The YLDP encourages all of our students to attend YLDP College Partners. Preference in the selection of students chosen for the YLDP must be given to those interested in attending college at one of our college partners, students who are undecided on the college they want to attend, or students who want to attend one of the military academies. The YLDP does encourage students to attend YLDP College Partners because the colleges have demonstrated their support for students of character.
Honorem Super Omnia— Honor Above All
Red - “the warm active color; suggesting passionate devotion, divine love; self— sacrifice; heroism and valor”
White - “spiritual achievement”
Blue - “ the cool contemplative color echoing the light of heaven; symbolic of divine wisdom, profound meditation; enduring loyalty, eternity”
The Gold Star represents our reverent respect for the Medal of Honor and those who have earned it
Logo inspired by: Charles Connick
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