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Youth leadership programs

Health Factors: Family & Social Support
Decision Makers: Community Members Educators Nonprofit Leaders
Evidence Rating: Expert Opinion
Population Reach: 10-19% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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Description

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).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased self-esteem
Increased self-efficacy
Improved social skills
Increased problem solving skills

Evidence of Effectiveness

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).

Implementation

United States

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

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).

Implementation Resources

YES!-Toolkits - Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!). Toolkits and resources. Accessed on April 12, 2017

Citations - Description

Campbell-Morton 2011 - Morton M, Montgomery P. Youth empowerment programs for improving self-efficacy and self-esteem of adolescents. Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2011:5. Accessed on April 19, 2017
Curran 2017 - Curran T, Wexler L. School-based positive youth development: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of School Health. 2017;87(1):71-80. Accessed on April 19, 2017
YG-Leadership - Youth.gov (YG). Youth transitioning to adulthood: How holding early leadership positions can make a difference. Youth briefs. Accessed on April 18, 2017

Citations - Evidence

Campbell-Morton 2011 - Morton M, Montgomery P. Youth empowerment programs for improving self-efficacy and self-esteem of adolescents. Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2011:5. Accessed on April 19, 2017
Curran 2017 - Curran T, Wexler L. School-based positive youth development: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of School Health. 2017;87(1):71-80. Accessed on April 19, 2017
YG-Leadership - Youth.gov (YG). Youth transitioning to adulthood: How holding early leadership positions can make a difference. Youth briefs. Accessed on April 18, 2017

Citations - Implementation

4-H citizenship - National 4-H Council. 4-H citizenship. Accessed on April 18, 2017
MGR-Youth empowerment - Marilyn G. Rabb Foundation. MGR youth empowerment: Empowering youth, changing communities. Accessed on April 12, 2017
WI 4-H - University of Wisconsin-Extension. Wisconsin 4-H Citizenship. Accessed on April 18, 2017
YES! - Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!). Accessed on April 12, 2017
YHSC - Health360. Youth Health Service Corps (YHSC). Accessed on April 18, 2017

Page Last Updated

April 18, 2017