Youth can be involved in leadership opportunities in their schools and communities. Some examples of opportunities for youth leadership include
- clubs, sports, and extracurricular activities;
- service-learning opportunities;
- volunteer programs;
- school councils or student body leadership roles; and
- leadership councils or youth boards for state and local government, among others.
Through exploring activities such as service-learning, career opportunities, community participation, peer mentoring, and civic engagement, youth gain valuable experience in goal-setting, conflict resolution, problem-solving, and decision-making.1
Youth development workers can help to address some of the challenges of involving youth in leadership roles by providing supportive, engaging opportunities that have clear roles and responsibilities, and established plans for sustainability. Adult service providers, educators, community members, and others can help young people develop leadership skills and build networks through the following:
- Encouraging partnerships between youth and their communities2
- Providing opportunities for skill development and learning 3
- Ensuring that youth are active agents and helping them develop self-advocacy skills by placing youth in challenging situations where they need to use problem-solving skills to manage different risk factors4
- Creating a supportive environment for youth that includes positive role models, constructive support, and mentoring5
- Establishing cooperative, collaborative, and comprehensive transition plans that promote skill-building, leadership training, workforce development, partnerships, and engagement6
Programs can learn more about how to involve youth in programs and leadership roles by viewing the positive youth development youth topic.
1 Brockman et al., n.d.
2 Boyd, 2001; Ferber et al., 2002
3 Brockman et al., n.d.
4, 5James, 1999; Lambrecht et al., 1997
6 Brockman et al., n.d.