Over the past few decades, there has been more emphasis on leadership programs for undergraduate university students while leadership training for secondary school adolescents has also gained increased acceptance as a priority.
The transformation of college aged teenagers from students to leaders has long been a goal of higher education, and a growing number of student leadership programs have emerged at institutions across the USA. These leadership programs take many forms, from one-day workshops to stand-alone extracurricular programs to full degree-granting programs.
Generally secondary school students have the ability to develop leadership skills by collaborating with their peers, developing self-awareness, and taking part in youth leadership organizations. As a result, students who possess leadership positions in student organizations achieve better than non-leaders on scales such as educational participation and career development.
Improved technology and greater mobility has “shortened” the distance between countries, and as a result, leadership is about both the local and the global. Not surprisingly, younger adults are taking the lead with new technologies such as social media.
So why is Youth Leadership important?
- Development of the Self (Self Leadership)
Being able to lead self-directed decisions and develop what we know as independent thinking, confidence, autonomy, decision making and effective communication.
- Development of the Identity (Group Leadership)
Learning to persuade while influencing and listening to others, building their social skills by understanding their place in the community.
- Development of the Community
Training future leaders to lead the country by being aware and prepared for future challenges.
An overview of the Report “Taking the lead: Youth leadership in theory and practice” by The Young Foundation Organization
Let’s explore the meaning of youth leadership, including how providing young people with opportunities to develop and exercise leadership can have a positive impact on their lives and their communities.
Supporting Successful Transitions to Adulthood
The social and emotional skills which enable effective leadership have significance beyond their potential to prepare young people for formal leadership roles; developing these skills is critical for a successful transition to adulthood.
Nurturing the development of social and emotional skills in young people, particularly those who lack the contexts in which to develop them, is a crucial task especially for Educators. This is by no means impossible or inherently difficult. The most important step in addressing the deficit in social and emotional skills is simply recognizing those young people who need extra support, providing it, and then monitoring their improvement.
Some Obstacles to Youth Leadership
❖ Authority conferring leadership, rather than leadership coming from within.
❖ The idea that young people can only lead other young people.
❖ Associating leadership with rigid skill-developing activities for the purpose of CV-
❖ The argument that some people simply aren’t meant to be leaders.
How do We Develop Youth Leadership Through Methodically Planned Programs?
Youth programs are not a one-size-fits-all commodity.
An effective youth leadership program is one that employs various approaches and methods, and focuses on different areas of development, ranging from entrepreneurial to personal. It emerges in response to a variety of needs, provides multiple pathways to leadership in many areas of society, and stresses divergent — but often equally valuable — progression routes and endpoints.
Some Fast Facts About Youth
More recently, youth mobilisation has seen resurgence particularly through social media channels, innovative informal groupings, and heightened engagement in volunteering.
More than 600 million youth live in fragile and conflict-affected countries and territories.
In crisis and post-conflict settings, young people have demonstrated the potential to build bridges across communities, working together, helping to manage conflict and promote peace.
Within the next decade, the world population is projected to increase by over 400 million, posing additional pressures on the labour markets in developing countries, where about 85% of youth live.