JOLT: Journey of Opportunities for Leaders of Tomorrow

Support Increased Economic Opportunities and Improved Quality of Life in Rural America
Research Year: 

Modern society is often filled with negative attitudes toward teenagers and views most teenagers as problematic at best. Programs like JOLT help turn teens into positive role models and future community leaders.

Description of Action: 

JOLT (Journey of Opportunities for Leaders of Tomorrow) is an Arizona Teen Leadership camp held annually each June near Heber, Arizona. Activities promote trust-building, leadership, and communication skills. Arizona Cooperative Extension and the Arizona 4-H Youth Development Foundation sponsor the camp, which has been held for 16 years. Teenagers aged 14-18, of various backgrounds, gather from across Arizona to develop open-minded and positive attitudes, develop a strong sense of teamwork, and learn to reject selfish actions that only benefit individuals. Conflict resolution skills and relationship building skills help create the sense of the "JOLT community" that is uncommon in other camps. Empowered participants enhance their interpersonal skills and strengthen their communication abilities, which helps promote long-lasting and true friendships. Over the last three years, 18 teens and staff from New Mexico have attended JOLT.


More than 1,400 teens have attended JOLT over the past 16 years. Teens who were youth staff members have gone on to serve as state 4-H Ambassadors and state 4-H Teen Council officers and representatives, and about 34 percent of the participants report they have participated in school government and community leadership opportunities after attending the camp. Participants reported increasing their leadership skills and abilities by 19 percent; ability to trust others by 15 percent, and ability to logically solve problems in a group by 13 percent. Nearly 50 percent of the 2003 campers had attended JOLT sessions in previous years. Prior JOLT successes were evident in the participant survey; the starting average reference point was higher for returning participants for each question. The 2003 camp was gave ample opportunity for leadership as participants learned not only about leadership theory, but also about serving a community and how to develop new plans when uncontrollable situations force a redirections.


"JOLT 2003 taught me a lot of things, but mainly it was about finding myself." –participant

"JOLT is a chance to explore yourself, and meet new people." –participant

"A great place to discover yourself and get a new perspective on life." –participant

"JOLT meant making new friends, learning to trust people you don't even know at first, and just having a great learning experience." –participant

"JOLT means everything to me. I learn friendship, teamwork and how to trust people. I love JOLT. It makes me a better person to know that there are truly people who try to make other people feel like they're important." ­ 3rd-year JOLT participant

"We are thankful that our 18-year-old son is so focused on this leadership opportunity and not troubled like others we see and hear of. We feel blessed that we have JOLT and 4-H in our kids' lives." Mother of a 2003 youth staff member

"The greatest satisfaction is seeing teens serve on staff and watch them grow by developing leadership skills through planning and implementing programs for their peers. Most youth staff begin with limited understanding and skills and by the time camp is over they are confident and competent leaders." –JOLT advisor.

Funding Agencies: 

Arizona Cooperative Extension, 4-H Youth Development

Conact Name: 
Bryan Chadd
Contact E-mail: 
Contact Address: 

Maricopa County Cooperative Extension

4341 E. Broadway

Phoenix, AZ 85040

(602) 470-8086 ext. 350 office (602) 470-8092 fax