Youth Leadership Development

Youth Development at a Glance: 

The Extension Center for Youth Development has identified eight critical elements essential to the healthy development of young people. They are based on Konopka’s and Karen Pittman’s research. Youth will benefit from experiences providing some or all of these elements.  In short, youth development is community development.

  1. Youth feel a sense of safety and structure.
  2. Youth experience active participation, group membership, and belonging.
  3. Youth develop self-worth through meaningful contribution.
  4. Youth experiment to discover self, gain independence and gain control over one’s life.
  5. Youth develop significant and quality relationships with peers and adults.
  6. Youth discuss conflicting values and form their own.
  7. Youth feel pride of competence and mastery.
  8. Youth expand their capacity to enjoy life and know that success is possible.


Youth voice and empowerment requires transparency in roles and responsibilities and an expansive list of opportunities for how to participate.

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Resources to Start Your Youth Led Initiative:
Youth Advocates for Community Health Curriculum
4-H Opportunity for All
Hedgehog Concept
True Leaders: Culture, Power and Justice-A youth development approach to social justice