What are Youth Development and Youth Leadership?
Why are They Important?
Research supports the premise that both youth development and youth leadership programs positively shape the growth of young people with and without disabilities. Youth leadership programs build on solid youth development principles, with an emphasis on those development and program components that support youth leadership.
Often, and mistakenly, the terms “youth development” and “youth leadership” are used interchangeably. Youth development is a process that prepares young people to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through a coordinated, progressive series of activities and experiences that help them to become socially, morally, emotionally, physically, and cognitively competent.
Youth leadership is an important part of the youth development process. Youth leadership is both an internal and an external process leading to
- The ability to guide or direct others on a course of action, influence their opinion and behavior, and show the way by going in advance;
- The ability to analyze one’s own strengths and weaknesses set personal and vocational goals, and have the self-esteem to carry them out.