Posts Tagged ‘youth leadership’
An interesting post on the University of Minnesota’s Youth Institute Blog calls for youth development organizations to invest in younger leaders. As the baby boom generation of youth development leaders retires over the next few years, and local and state governments are continually squeezed by deficits, programs and services for children could be impacted by a loss of leadership and support.
The Blog author, Ellen Gannett, co-chair of the Next Generation Youth Work Coalition, noticed a distinct “graying” of the youth development leadership community at a recent conference. She came to discover that part of the problem has been a lack of investment in and cultivation of young leaders in the non-profit world . To bridge this chasm involves more work on the boomer generation’s behalf to pass the torch to younger colleagues of Generation X and Y. But why not start engaging youth in leadership sooner? We need to encourage youth leadership within the very organizations youth are served by, especially those of disadvantaged backgrounds and of color.
This is true across the youth development field, but certainly resonates for youth community food programs. In the Michigan Good Food Charter’s Youth Engagement and Opportunity Report (2010), creating social entrepreneurship opportunities for youth was a key recommendation. Cultivating the next generation of leaders in Michigan’s Food System will require making space for young people to engage, learn, and develop. Apprenticeships, mentoring relationships, and workforce/entrepreneurial training were some of the strategies recommended to give youth a leg up into leadership and skilled status in Michigan’s “Good Food” system.
How are Michigan programs that engage young people in agriculture, community food and gardening blazing paths for leadership? Are we doing enough to empower young people to be leaders in our organizations? How can we do a better job of opening the door for youth leadership and developing young professionals and skilled workers to carry our missions into the future?
Anne E Casey Foundation (2005) “Up Next- Generation Change and the Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations“