Neighborhood Leaders Academy is a six-week civic engagement and leadership development program offered by the City of Lancaster’s Bureau of Civic Engagement. The Bureau of Civic Engagement defines civic engagement as active participation in the processes that impact the quality of life in the city. The first step to increasing civic engagement is to educate and empower citizens so that they have the knowledge, skills, and motivation necessary to effectively influence the decisions that lead to impact.


As such, the Neighborhood Leaders Academy curriculum addresses:

  1. Local Government
    1. City Structure & Legislative Powers
    2. Public Safety
    3. Democratic Process
  2. Community Change Agents
    1. Elected Officials
    2. Public Servants
    3. Advocates
  3. Community Resources
    1. Community based organizations
    2. Social service agencies
    3. Advocacy & democracy organizations
    4. Engagement best practices
    5. Trauma informed guiding principles


Gabrielle Buzgo
Bureau Chief of Civic Engagement
Neighborhood Engagement

Who should apply?

Lancaster City residents who have an interest in better understanding how local government works, how to effectively impact change, and gaining connections to resources for themselves or their community are encouraged to apply. Participants are expected to attend all six sessions and be able to engage in respectful conversations.

What will you learn?

  1. Participants will gain a better understanding of the workings of local government
  2. Participants will establish connections with community change agents
  3. Participants will be introduced to resources for themselves and their community

When Does NLA Happen?

We try to host two NLA community classes per year and one JP McCaskey class for sophomore students. The community classes are held on Monday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m. and runs for six consecutive weeks. If you’re interested in learning more about NLA at McCaskey, please email us.

Application Deadline

March 14, 2024

Participants Notified

March 28, 2024

2024 Neighborhood Leaders Academy Dates

Mondays, 5 – 8 p.m.
April 22 – May 20, 2024

What Do Residents Say About NLA?

“This program lets people from all over the city connect with leaders and resources that can be used to help their communities. I am sharing what I learned with others.”

“This is a great program. I would recommend this program to all City Residents and City Staff.”

“I absolutely loved the group and all the information that was provided and especially the networking I had the pleasure of creating.”

“This is amazing. I love how it was ran and the resources that were brought to speak.”