Fostering youth leadership requires building capacity, skills, and confidence by supporting young people as decision-makers and problem solvers. This can involve youth-designed curricula, youth facilitation, youth governance (YACs), and more.
Background and Strategies
Leadership engages youth in decision making and problem-solving within individual programs and organizational structures.
Youth leadership cultivation may look different depending on the nature of the program or organization. Ideal models for leadership engage youth at multiple levels within an organization – as program planners and facilitators, decision makers, and community representatives. Each of these leadership roles require intentional training, scaffolding, and tailored support. Leadership workshops, role plays, and youth-adult co-facilitation can lay a strong foundation for youth to lead independently.
Cultivating leaders requires more than simply providing leadership training, however. It ultimately involves adults letting go and allowing youth to practice leadership in meaningful ways in order to gain confidence in their skills and abilities.