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Teens Take On FBI Academy

Training for Tomorrow
Students Take On the FBI Academy

09/22/06

Director Mueller speaks with FBI Youth Leadership Program attendees.

Director Mueller speaks with FBI
Youth Leadership Program attendees.

It was quite a week for this select group of 51 teenagers: they chatted with the FBI Director, studied in the same classrooms where our new agents learn the ropes, got an inside look at our headquarters strategic command center, and tackled a grueling obstacle course used to toughen up U.S. Marines and law enforcement officers.

It was all part of the Youth Leadership Program, a nine-year-old initiative modeled on our National Academy and run by its graduates in the FBI National Academy Associates.

The program's mission? To develop tomorrow's leaders—and hopefully future FBI and criminal justice professionals.

The students—all bright, well-rounded incoming high school sophomores and juniors—came from across the U.S. and from as far away as Canada, Scotland, and Australia. They earned spots in the program based on their academic achievements, leadership abilities, and involvement in school and community activities.

How did the students spend their time at our training facility in rural Virginia? Not just studying hard and learning a great deal, but making new friends, experiencing other cultures and traditions, and having fun along the way.

The students' days began at dawn and didn't end until well after sundown. Most mornings started with a mile-run or other physical training. Then the students typically settled into the classroom to learn leadership skills and all about the criminal justice system from FBI agents and law enforcement graduates from the Academy. Among the courses: ethics, integrity, and decision making; leadership concepts and communication; goal setting; juvenile violence in America; and the law and its effects. In the evening, the students played sports, visited D.C. memorials, studied or enjoyed some free time, and even took tests.

The students also saw FBI operations up close and personal, both at the Academy and at our headquarters in Washington. They toured the driving course where our employees learn defensive driving skills, got a polygraph demonstration, and walked the streets of Hogan's Alley where we conduct realistic training exercises for agents. Along the way, of course, Director Mueller and other FBI professionals couldn't help describing career opportunities in the Bureau and giving the students their best recruiting pitches.

As a final mental and physical challenge, the students attempted to conquer the "Yellow Brick Road"—a nearly-three mile run across the Marine obstacle course that features walls, ropes, and wooded trails. Like their adult counterparts, the students who completed the challenge earned a coveted "Yellow Brick."

As with the National Academy, the program doesn't end the moment the students pack up and head home. They're invited to join an alumni group that attends events together and keeps in touch.

Interested in applying or want to learn more about the program? You can read about opportunities that the FBI offers to young people on our FBI Jobs Student Center webpage.

Resources: The FBI Academy | Director Mueller's 09/19 speech on the National Academy program