The Leaders in Training Education (LITE) program began as a pilot project in 2002. This free summer program was designed to give youth ages 13-17 the opportunity to volunteer their time working at special events and youth programs sponsored by the Parks, Beaches & Recreation department. With the help of the PB&R staff, the LITEs are put into situations where they are able to learn leadership roles, job training, become involved with their community and earn community service hours.
During the summer of 2002, 25 local teens volunteered over 2,000 hours at camps and low- or no-cost recreation centers. As the years progressed, so did the interest in this program. In the summer of 2009, there were 70 LITEs involved in the program volunteering for over 5,000 hours.
Due to the great success of the program and the continuing need for it, a year-round LITE program is being offered in hopes of increasing activities for teens throughout the school year. Since the start of the 2004-2005 school year, LITEs have been invited to participate in specials events put on by the city. They volunteer their time and energy and have proved to be a valued asset to city programs. The hope is that this experience will help bridge the gap between volunteerism and first time jobs for participants.
In the beginning of each summer, LITEs take part in an additional training provided by the PB&R Staff on teambuilding, conflict management and communication.