What exactly is youth leadership? Is it different from adult leadership? How does it relate to productive youth development? Can it be taught? If so, what are the best and worst practices?
As academics and professionals working with youth pursue a focus on positive psychology and youth development, the topic of youth leadership represents an intriguing frontier of inquiry. The notion of leadership moves beyond mere resilience; it implies an exceptional level of competency and self–mastery along with an ability to influence others.
Despite the relevance of youth leadership to the field of youth development, the topic remains largely unexplored. The minimal amount of scholarly literature related to the topic barely scratches the surface and does not provide definitive answers to questions. With this edition of New Directions for Youth Development, the issue editors have brought together scholars and practitioners with decades of involvement in youth leadership education. Our intention in gathering together this collection of writings has been to bring a new level of focus, rigor, and insight to this important discussion. While this collection of articles provides no simple answers, it does crystallize a collection of issues and debates that are central to the discourse on youth leadership.
Youth Leadership is the 109th issue of New Directions for Youth Development.
Editors Notes 3
Max Klau, Steve Boyd, Lynn Luckow
Executive Summary 9
1. The mystery of youth leadership development: The path to just communities 13
Margaret Libby, Maureen Sedonaen, Steven Bliss
The authors seek to bring clarity to the discourse on youth leadership and introduce the concept of inside versus outside leadership as a valuable framework for understanding the term.
2. Bridging generations: Applying adult leadership theories to youth leadership development 27
Carole A. MacNeil
There is a wealth of literature devoted to adult leadership, and very little exploring youth leadership. In this article, the author examines the connection between the two topics.
3. Youth leadership and youth development: Connections and questions 45
Cathann A. Kress
The youth development movement is broadly interested in promoting strength and resilience as opposed to preventing problems and delinquency. The author argues that leadership represents one possible developmental pathway for youth and explores the implications of this perspective.
4. Exploring youth leadership in theory and practice: An empirical study 57
In an effort to move from theory to practice, the author presents case studies based on direct observation of three youth leadership programs.
Special Section on youth leadership in action: Key programs and practices
5. Leading, learning, and unleashing potential: Youth leadership and civic engagement 89
Wendy Wheeler with Carolyn Edlebeck
The authors describe the Innovation Center s programs focusing on civic engagement as a tool for youth leadership development.
6. Moving from youth leadership development to youth in governance : Learning leadership by doing leadership 99
Carole A. MacNeil with Jennifer McClean
The authors present the philosophy and experience behind the youth–adult partnerships fostered by 4–H s youth–in–governance programs.
7. Anytown: NCCJ s youth leadership experience in social justice 107
Julia Matsudaira with Ashley Jefferson
The authors describe an NCCJ youth leadership program focused on diversity and social justice.
8. Arts–based leadership: Theatrical tributes 117
Eve Nussbaum Soumerai with Rachel Mazer
The authors present a program that promotes youth leadership by involving young people in the creation and performance of theatrical tributes to well–known leaders of the past and present.
Resource Guide 125