|Health Factors:||Family & Social Support|
|Decision Makers:||Community Members Educators Nonprofit Leaders|
|Population Reach:||10-19% of WI's population|
|Impact on Disparities:|
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Youth leadership programs provide opportunities for youth to gain skills and understand their strengths and weaknesses while working as active agents of change, often through social activities such as youth councils, advocacy groups, peer education, and local government youth boards. Participating youth are engaged and empowered in decision making regarding program design, implementation, and evaluation with the support of adults. Youth leadership programs are based on a positive youth development framework (YG-Leadership, Curran 2017, Campbell-Morton 2011).
Youth leadership programs are a suggested strategy to increase self-esteem and self-efficacy among youth and prepare them to transition successfully to adulthood (YG-Leadership). Available evidence suggests that leadership programs may increase interpersonal skills, problem solving skills, and critical thinking among participants (YG-Leadership, Curran 2017). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects (Campbell-Morton 2011, Curran 2017).
Experts recommend that youth leadership development programs clearly define youth roles and goals, and establish trust-based, positive relationships between youth and adults (YG-Leadership).
4-H Citizenship programs engage youth in many communities across the country (4-H citizenship). Youth Health Service Corps (YHSC) and Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!) are examples of programs that work to empower middle and high school students to help create healthy communities. MGR Foundation's Youth Empowerment program is another example of an effort to build leadership and empowerment, specifically among under-resourced youth (MGR-Youth empowerment).
Wisconsin 4-H Citizenship is an example of a program that provides youth with civic leadership and governance opportunities across the state (WI 4-H).