While participating in the city-sponsored Teen Lead program a year ago, Lodi High School junior Kristin Schlader learned about potential careers in the health field or law enforcement.
"I thought it was a good experience because I got to learn about stuff in our community that I would have never experienced," she said.
Schlader was part of a yearlong program where sophomores and juniors get to learn leadership skills while exploring topics and occupations in the community. Some of the other topics include agriculture, education, business, environment, health and criminal justice.
The city is looking for new applications from teens who want to participate in the resume-building program, said Nicole Grauman, an adviser for Teen Lead and the Lodi Youth Commission.
For the first time, Children's Dreamworks will be a giving out a $500 scholarship to one of the students that participates in Teen Lead.
During the current school year, there was no Teen Lead program because not enough students applied. This year, Grauman and advisers Jaime Watts and Jennifer Lynn are planning to be more proactive with recruitment.
They also are revamping the program so participants will spend more of Teen Lead's daylong monthly meetings out in the community, as opposed to listening to speakers.
"We are trying to be a little more visual, because that's how kids operate," she said.
In the 2010-11 Teen Lead program, many of the students said a visit to a dairy was one of their favorite activities. She said they were taking pictures of the cows and the entire dairy process.
"They were asking questions by the end and really engaging," Grauman said.
Every year, the kids also enjoy touring City Hall and doing a re-enactment of a Lodi City Council meeting, where all of the students play different roles, and an adult pretends to be an irate citizen.
"They love that because they get to see where the mayor sits, and they find out what they actually do," she said.
Similar to Leadership Lodi, the teens will pick a community service project they want to complete as a class. The teens must also complete 20 hours of community service on their own and attend 80 percent of the Teen Lead sessions.
Children's Dreamworks, a nonprofit that gives out up to $10,000 in scholarships every year, will select the winner of the $500 scholarship, President Rita Sperling said.
"I really think that what they are doing with the teen leadership is a great idea and a super opportunity for our leaders of tomorrow," Sperling said. "The more they can be exposed to the city government and other things within the community, the better prepared they are going to be."
Grauman said the program is for students interested in becoming leaders and doing community service.
"It's for anyone who has an interest in what's going on in Lodi or who might be interested in living and working here," she said.
All of the students must have at least a 2.5 grade-point average. Interested students can download an application at www.lodiyouthcommission.com.
Tokay High School student Connor Alexander said he believes the program helped him learn about the community. He plans to go into the U.S. Air Force or attend Delta College after graduating.
"It really just opened my eyes to what kind of jobs I liked and the ones I didn't," he said.