Special Populations

Supporting Special Populations Requires Partnership

National Summer Learning Association’s (NSLA) Special Populations professional summer learning community (PLC) is comprised of leadership professionals who work with youth who identify as a special population. This includes youth with physical, cognitive, or learning disabilities, those experiencing homelessness, illness, or bereavement, and LGBTQ+, children exposed to domestic violence.

One of the main objectives of this PLC is to empower youth-serving leaders who often feel isolated due to the independent nature of serving in a leadership role within their organization. Members are not CEOs, so lack that control, but are often reporting to the CEO and feeling isolated in their leadership position.

Working collaboratively and compassionately, we are addressing key issues such as:

  • Full-time year-round leadership staff self care
  • Supporting staff and volunteers
  • Recruitment
  • Vicarious trauma
  • Trauma informed care
  • Social emotional learning and 21st century skills

Who Should Join the Special Populations PLC?

Professionals in leadership positions within their youth-serving organization, including Director of Operations, Camp Directors, Program Directors, among other positions. They are often professionals who lead sessions at professional conferences, are looked to for leadership, and are looking for support and fellowship through a peer group.

Join Our PLC Today!

PLC Team Leader

Sterling Nell Leija
NSLA Field Consultant

Sterling is passionate about outcome based intentional programming, education in out of school space, equitable access to youth development programs, and the impact of quality programs. As an educator, consultant, speaker, and writer, Sterling has extensive experience as a presenter and trainer sharing best practices, research, and tools with industry leaders. She has been engaged in youth development for 20 years with extensive experience in growing programs and organizations.

Sterling currently serves as the Vice President of Operations at Roundup River Ranch, a year-round camp program for children with serious illnesses. She is the founder of Camp LIFE and the co-founder of the consulting firm SilverPerks. Sterling is an active member and volunteer for the American Camp Association, currently serving on the national board and chairing the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee.

Email Sterling at SpecialPopulations@summerlearning.org to learn how to join our PLC.