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CADCA Youth Leadership Program


The CADCA Youth Leadership Program is an annual program for Salt Lake County youth ages 14-18. Youth who participate in the CADCA YLP will learn advocacy, leadership, and community building skills. Youth participants in the CADCA YLP will lead community intervention projects to make a meaningful change in their communities before traveling to Washington DC to attend a national conference, the CADCA National Leadership Forum. While attending the conference, youth will meet with our state’s national representatives in Congress on Capitol Hill Day and have the opportunity to advocate for a cause important to them.


Thoughts from past participants:

  • “I think that I found the whole experience to be impactful. I loved learning more about drugs and our nation. I was very impacted by the activity where we shared compliments about each other. That still sticks with me today.”
  • “I think that the most impactful part was giving our speeches it was amazing to hear everyone's opinion and have people at congress listen to us.”
  • “[The most impactful thing to me was] the experience and validation you receive in being heard.”
  • “I want to be more active in the political hemisphere. I hadn't realized how much fun politics was until after meeting with McAdams and walking through the Capitol- I hope to attend more public events and speak out against issues in my local community.”


  • Summer ’23
    • Application period open: June 1 to June 30
    • Application review, youth selection, and interview process: July/August
  • Fall & Winter ’23
    • Monthly youth cohort training
  • Winter ‘24
    • Monthly youth cohort training
    • Attend CADCA National Leadership Forum in DC: January 28 to February 2
  • Spring ‘24
    • Evaluation?


What is CADCA?

  • CADCA stands for Community-based Advocacy-focused Data-driven Coalition-building Association. CADCA is a national organization whose mission is “…to strengthen the capacity of coalitions to create and maintain safe, healthy and drug-free communities globally. This is accomplished by providing technical assistance and training, public policy and advocacy, media strategies and marketing programs, training and special events.” (

What will youth learn at the conference?

  • At the CADCA National Leadership Forum, youth are trained to be leaders, advocates, and effective change agents in their communities. Training includes upstream approaches to substance misuse prevention and community building. Many youth sessions at the conference are taught by youth leaders from around the country.

What is Capitol Hill Day?

  • Capitol Hill Day is a day set aside by CADCA for youth to travel to the United States Capitol and meet with their respective state’s national representatives in Congress and put training into action by advocating for a cause that is important to them. Youth participants in the CADCA YLP will prepare advocacy speeches in the time leading up to the conference to advocate for something important to them during these legislative meetings.

What topics are youth allowed to advocate for?

  • CADCA YLP advisors encourage youth to select causes that are meaningful or important to them. Past youth advocacy topics have included: the Green New Deal; Climate change; water quality; saving the Great Salt Lake; air quality; food waste; DACA; immigration; bipartisanship; big pharma corporations; the troubled teen industry; suicide prevention; mental health in schools; learning disabilities; sex education; vaping; opioid crisis; diversity in HEAL occupations; and more!

How much will I have to pay to attend the conference?

  • All the costs associated with attending the conference will be covered by Salt Lake County including flights, hotels, conference registration, transportation in DC, and a daily per diem allowance for meals.

How many spots are available?

  • There are 10 youth spots available. Youth will be selected after the application period closes.

How do I know if I’m eligible to apply?

  • Any youth between the ages of 14-18 who lives in Salt Lake County is eligible to apply to the CADCA YLP. Please keep in mind that there will be monthly attendance and project completion requirements leading up to attending the national conference.

How do I let you know if I need accommodations?

  • We do our best to make accommodations in accordance with ADA standards and guidelines. Please make note in your application if there are any specific accommodations you would require and we will do our best to make those accommodations possible for you if you are selected. If you have any questions about accommodations, please email

Salt Lake County Health Department
General Information  
Phone: (385) 468-4100