Youth leadership talk is everywhere, our young folks are the leaders of tomorrow! But how much is actually being done to foster our youth? With budget cuts and access to higher education becoming more and more unattainable, it sometimes feels like we are not practising what we preach. We've been giving it some thought and here are our top 5 ways for organizations and people to start developing leaders and contributing to giving our youth the opportunities to succeed:
1) Listen to young people! Number 1 for sure! How do we understand the needs and potential of young people if we don't even listen to their opinons? How will we ever be able to change and evolve? Things move fast in this world and it's important we take the time to garner new ideas, ways of achieving, and ways of being. Young people are the best at coming up with new ideas...fresh minds!
2) Hire young people out of college/high school - Hiring young people provides you access to their great ideas! Just because someone doesn't have tons of experience doesn't mean they can't be a valuable asset to your organization. Often times this is a perfect opportunity to train the young person to be the model employee because they don't have any preconcieved notions of what's expected of them! Students fresh from school are brimming with all kinds of knowlege, they've spent the last 4 years learning and will be in tune with all the lastest studies, best new practices and have a brain ready to work!
3) Take risks with your young employees by empowering them to take on new and challenging tasks. The key here is to allow your young employee (or older, either way!) to not be scared to try new things. If it doesn't work, who cares, do it differently! This is how we learn and giving people the power to feel like they can suggest anything and be heard will make your organization better! The world doesn't change by doing the same old boring thing....
4) Support policies/initiatives/programs in your community. The best way to show that we value something is to support it. If we say we value leadership, then lets support it! whether that is financially, having your employee's or you volunteer to help at an event, or starting your own leadership programs you will better your community by showing everyone that their voice matters and we're going to help you be heard!
5) Bring people together. Do you know a lot of inspiring, amazing, minds? Are they all in different groups or sectors? Bring them together! It's amazing what can be accomplished when you foster creative thinking among a dedicated empowered crowd. Leadership deveopment is, afterall, about helping leaders make sure that the next generation of leaders will have the vision, committment, knowlege, and skills necessary to lead.
Alberta's Youth Volunteer Society (AYV) hosts a leadership residency called the Action Generation Leadership Residency, annually, at The Banff Centre (which if you haven't checked out, i highly recommend you do so...like now!). The program is fully sponsored by us (AYV), they only exception is that you must find your way there. It is open to anyone between the ages of 18-29 and we have 25 spots available each year. Applications are released in June and the residency is the last week of August.