2019 YLA Highlights


2019 Youth Leadership Academy

Recruit Class #13

Monday June 24th – Friday June 28th, 2019

This will be a day program, not an overnight. After careful review, there will be refreshed agenda for the 2019 Youth Leadership Academy. It will be held at Ramapo College and the approximate hours will be 8:30am – 5:00pm. The new itinerary will be coming shortly and the focus is on the core mission with an emphasis on leadership and mentoring.

Thank you to all who participated!

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Youth Leadership Academy is to enable dedicated youth to become decisive, caring, and disciplined leaders in a challenging environment. We also strive to instill confidence and courage through hands-on adventure, survival and physical training, while fostering the moral integrity and flawless character required of responsible citizens and future leaders.


The Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) is a unique week long summer program designed by Mahwah Police Officers and dedicated to developing the leadership potential of current middle and high school students. YLA provides participants with a challenging and meaningful adventure camp experience while building an understanding of small group leadership techniques, leadership ethics, team work, problem-solving, and effective communication. To the best of our knowledge the Youth Leadership Academy is the only one of its kind hosted by a law enforcement agency in the State of New Jersey.

Youth Leadership Academy
It’s not how many hours you put into each day,
but what you put into each hour that counts
— Motto of the YLA

Staff to student ratio

Recruit health and safety is always our primary concern. The staff consists of Police Officers from the Mahwah Police Department and hand selected Interns from area colleges providing each camper with a safe and rewarding experience. The Staff-to-Student ratio is 1:15 or better to ensure maximum supervision. We have access to emergency care 24 hours a day and trained Emergency Medical Technicians on staff 24/7 to provide immediate first aid care.

Location / date / times

The 2019 Youth Leadership Academy will be held from Monday, June 24th to Friday, June 28th.  Drop off for the 1st day will be in the South Lot of Ramapo College, closest to the South Entrance (based upon weather conditions). Please enter the College parking lot at the southern entrance opposite Continental Soldiers Field and Officers will direct you to the drop off location.


The Youth Leadership Academy turns an ordinary summer week in to an extraordinary adventure and turns seemingly unattainable challenges into very achievable successes!

The primary objective of the Youth Leadership Academy is to continue the recruit’s growth process from child to adolescent to adult leader.  The motto of “Respect, Discipline and Honesty” is still the foundation of all daily activities. Team work, communication, and problem solving skills are the core curriculum.

Each Child will learn about the incredible power of “TEAMWORK,” the importance of respect for self and others, and build the confidence to achieve the impossible.

While not as structured as the Junior Police Academy the Leadership Academy will give your child the opportunity to work together with other students, develop and express ideas and creative thinking.

What the Mahwah Youth Leadership Academy Does

The Youth Leadership Academy curriculum consists of Classroom Instruction and Practical Exercises which are designed to develop:

  • Basic Leadership Skills

  • Interpersonal Communication Skills

  • Problem Solving Skills

  • Teamwork Skills

  • Critical Thinking Skills

Target Audience

This academy is only for students entering 8th grade and above the following September. The Youth Leadership Academy is open to all Mahwah students, although it is preferred that they successfully complete the Mahwah Junior Police Academy. The Youth Leadership Academy is a continuation of the Junior Police Academy and is designed to continue the students’ training and preparation for becoming tomorrow’s leaders.

Participant Cost

The program requires a $275 fee for each participant.

2019 Youth Leadership Academy Leaders are:

Commanding Officer: Officer David Sinisi
Executive Officer: Officer Klaus Stewen
Administrative Director: Det. Sgt. Michael Grassi


Officer, Staff, and Intern Support:

Intern Alessandra Watrall
Intern Eliza McNamara
Intern Corey Larkin
Intern Shelby Beard
Intern Stephen Solazzo
Intern Erin Smith

Health Director:
Det. Sgt. Michael Grassi – EMT

Assistant Health Director:
ECO Michael Migliaccio – EMT

Team leaders:

Officer Robert Rapp Team # 1
Officer Robert Birney Team # 2
Officer Michael Dombroski Team # 3
Officer Michael Jack Team # 4
Det. Sgt. Michael Grassi Team # 5
Officer Timothy Letavish Team # 6

related statistics

2019 is the 13th Annual Youth Leadership Academy. The program established a strong foundation over the last 10 years as a long term support for police and community relationship building.

  • 106 recruits attended the 1st Annual YLA.

  • 118 recruits attended the 2nd Annual YLA.

  • 138 recruits attended the 3rd Annual YLA.

  • 141 recruits attended the 4th Annual YLA.

  • 165 recruits attended the 5th Annual YLA.

  • 170 recruits attended the 6th Annual YLA.

  • 230 recruits attended the 7th Annual YLA.

  • 240 recruits attended the 8th Annual YLA

  • 230 recruits attended the 9th Annual YLA

  • Approximately 200 recruits attended the 10th Annual YLA

The YLA has raised over $8,000 Dollars for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the MS Society and the MD Research Institute over the past 8 years, donated nearly $4,000 dollars worth of athletic equipment to underprivileged athletic programs, and donated a truck load of food to the Mahwah Center for Food Action.  

  • Each student will be exposed to no less than 20 hours of leadership instruction culminating in a graduation ceremony.