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The four pillars of youth leadership development

“The ability to see into the future and anticipate the consequences of decisions made now will require us to go beyond simply relying on past experience. Leaders must free themselves from lock step procedures and purely analytical tools to accommodate the rapid rate of change and uncertainty that will accelerate in the future. In the last analysis, it will be the flexible, aware, informed, collaborative decision-maker who will best characterize the strategic leader of the 21st century in the realm of decision-making.” Lt. Colonel Stephen A. Shambach

1. Academics-shape our overall personality, our thinking and our attitude towards life. To survive in the competitive world, it is very essential to have a basic knowledge in of certain facts before you go on to follow the path of your life. It is the academics that help us understand the world better and teach us to navigate the challenges that life throws at us. Today’s youth need to know a great deal more than reading, writing, and arithmetic in order to succeed. According to key business leaders in the US, students who are to succeed in 21st century America must be:

  • able to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information;
  • able to effectively communicate with others;
  • proficient in science, mathematics, computer/technical skills,
  • foreign languages, and global awareness;
  • capable of collaboratively working in culturally diverse settings;
  • leaders who see projects through to completion;
  • responsible decision makers who are self-motivated

2. Philanthropy-(Why is philanthropy important?) The “active effort to promote human welfare”. Today’s youth are the adults of the future. Instilling philanthropic values in children, teens and young adults is vital to solve community and global issues. Youth have an abundance of energy, which, when harnessed, makes even the most difficult tasks seem effortless. Children who volunteer are twice as likely to donate as adults. Youth philanthropists grow up to be adult philanthropists. Parents strive to teach compassion to their children. The logical next step is teaching philanthropy. Beyond compassionate feelings lies a world in need of action.

3. Sport-Team and individual sports provide youth opportunities to grow physically and socially, as well as emotionally. In today’s world, we are surrounded by competition. Adults face competition when they are applying for and keeping jobs, whereas children face competition in academics and sports. Participating in competitive sports at an early age gives children an opportunity to understand the healthy aspects of competition in a friendly environment. Students of all ages who participate in sports have been found to cope better with competition in other areas of their life (Yan & McCullagh, 2004).

4-Leadership Development-Many leadership scholars and youth development professionals agree that leadership development is an important, but often overlooked facet of youth development and education (MacNeil 2000). The development of leadership contributes greatly to the positive development of young people and their communities. Leadership skills, such as the following, develop high energy leaders who are engaged in their school, personal relations, and home.

  • goal-setting, problem-solving and sound decision-making,
  • emotional intelligence,
  • dynamic communications, increased productivity,
  • influencing and engaging others,
  • developing high energy relationships,
  • productivity and decision making
  • time management and balance,

The “Four Pillars” of youth leadership development builds individual self-esteem and positive self-esteem promotes assertiveness along with self-awareness. These types of individuals tend to rise to the occasion in athletic performance, in their careers, at school, their communities, and in their personal life. They have more initiative.

These individuals are not afraid to make those difficult decisions.

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