Citizenship and leadership
Developing leadership skills involves building civic and social responsibilities. Service learning and other youth program activities can make youth into leaders.
Comments on this page? Curator: Jacquie Lonning, citizenship & leadership program director
Youth Development Insight
Our faculty blog about research, issues and trends in the field. Join the conversation!
About two years ago, students at Becker High School in rural Minnesota created a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). These students wanted a space where they could be themselves, connect and feel safe in a town where they often feel they don't fit in and can't express their true identities. For adolescents, access to safe spaces is a crucial part of development and exploring self-identity. For youth programs, this is a fundamental concern.
While physical safety is the foundation of the YPQA pyramid from the Center for Youth Program Quality, emotional safety is also of crucial importance. Only when youth feel emotionally and physically safe are they able to present themselves in an authentic way and engage in positive development. Without that authenticity, true development cannot take place.
Meetings can be important and useful, or they can be a waste of time. How many of us have sat in a meeting and thought, "Is this meeting ever going to start?" or worse, "Is this meeting ever going to end?" The typical American professional attends more than 60 meetings per month, and about half of that time is wasted.
See all citizenship and leadership blog posts
Reports & journal articles
An important set of key skills which include problem solving, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and self-management - often referred to as "21st century skills" increase deeper learning, college and career readiness, student-centered learning, and higher order thinking. 2012.
Citizenship education in England 2001-2010: young people's practices and prospects for the future: the eighth and final report from the Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study
This landmark report looks to identify, measure and assess the short-term and long-term effects of citizenship education in schools on students over time. 2010.
The framework for this study represents the assumptions about aspects of the larger school system, including leadership at several levels, which interact to influence student learning. (PDF) 2010.
A white paper on how quality matters in multiple dimensions of nonformal learning in the nonschool hours. (PDF) 2009.
Annotated bibliography on leadership and civic engagement developed to inform program outcomes for Minnesota 4-H Youth Development. (PDF) 2008.
Includes the Continuum of Youth Engagement and Eight Principles of engaging youth in community change. (PDF) 2007.
Pushing the Envelope on Youth Civic Engagement: A developmental and liberation psychology perspective
The authors present a typology of civic engagement that includes 1) community service; 2) work within organizations; and 3) sociopolitical activism aimed at changing organizations and society. (PDF) 2007.
Reviews the context, rationale and research related to youth in decision-making positions and provides recommendations for changes in adult expectations and support. (PDF) 2007.
Beyond Access and Supply: Youth-led strategies to captivate young people's interest in and demand for youth programs and communities
Working on supply and access are necessary but not sufficient for the task of increasing young people's engagement in positive youth programs, activities, and informal opportunities. Youth are the marketing experts in this endeavor to increase participation in youth programs particularly by those who typically do not participate. (PDF) 2006.
A complete, downloadable curriculum for high school service learning. This group of environmental activities are around water conservation. 2004.
The authors outline social and political dynamics of the 21st century that necessitate a redefinition of civic competence, asserting that youth must be prepared to collaborate with adults in new ways to identify and address social and political issues within ever-changing realities. 2001.
What we're reading
From journals and the popular media. Selected by our citizenship & leadership state program director Jacquie Lonning.
- Taylor & Francis Online :: Understanding youth civic engagement: debates, discourses, and lessons from practice - Community Development -
- Hope in Context: Developmental Profiles of Trust, Hopeful Future Expectations, and Civic Engagement Across Adolescence | Schmid Callina, Johnson, Buckingham, Lerner | Journal of Youth and Adolescence
- Identity Styles, Positive Youth Development, and Civic Engagement in Adolescence | Crocetti, Erentaite, Zukauskiene | Journal of Youth and Adolescence
- What Motivates Youth Civic Involvement? | Jahromi Ballard | Journal of Adolescent Research
- A Typology of Youth Civic Engagement in Urban Middle Schools | Voight, Torney-Purta | Applied Developmental Science
- Youth Engagement in Electoral Activities: A Collaborative Evaluation of a Civic Education Project | Berson | Journal of Education and Training Studies
- Social Action, Service Learning, and Youth Development | Arches | Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education
- Designing Games, Designing Roles | Sheridan, Clark, Williams | Urban Education
- Active citizenship, education and service learning | Birdwell, Scott, Horley | Education, Citizenship and Social Justice
- Youth Participation in U.S. Contexts: Student Voice Without a National Mandate | Mitra, Serriere, Kirshner | Children & Society
Our past presentations
For more than 30 years, Youth Teaching Youth has been a prime example of a cross-age teaching program. In cross-age teaching, teens are not just assisting an adult teacher or informally sharing experiences,but facilitating an entire learning experience by teaching curriculum and fully managing a group of younger peers. Cross-age teaching can also enhance social and emotional learning for both teacher and learner. Youth workers often ask those of us on the 4-H YTY team how they might start a cross-age teaching program of their own. Chances are, your program is already infusing some components, but there are 10 essential elements you need to define in order to do this well. 2016. Listen to the podcast.
The 4-H Youth Teaching Youth program trains teen teachers in high school to deliver curricula to students in elementary and middle schools on topics including character building and healthy living. The role of a teen teacher in this cross-age program requires classroom management skills, curriculum insight, and a basic understanding of public speaking. However, training time is often limited due to the competitive nature of a teen’s schedule. This webinar will explore a pilot model being used to accommodate the need for more flexibility and versatility for training teen teachers. A flipped classroom approach allows youth to watch self-study modules (using their phone, tablet, or computer) prior to attending in-person training. Then, the in-person training provides a space for deeper practice, reflection, application, and conversation. Participants will gain an understanding of this training approach and gain ideas of how it can translate to other youth work settings where training is necessary, but time is limited. 2016. View the web recording.
This webinar discussed service-learning as a program strategy to focus on youth workers understanding and applying a youth-adult partnership approach in non-formal learning environments. Presenters shared research, tools, and resources to help youth practitioners better understand their role. 2013. View the web recording.
Noted author and international figure in leadership, Dr. Margaret Wheatley speaks about what it takes to be a leader in the 21st century and challenges us to rethink the ways Minnesota seeks to reach, connect and engage youth. 2007. Read more.
90-minute video presentation focusing on the role of youth engagement in nurturing social trust in and in fostering the future of democracy. 2008. Read more.