Urban Youth and the Leaders Who Love Them

A group of dedicated youth leaders gathered together this weekend to answer one question: How can we love our young people better?

We began our weekend with a youth panel who were kind enough to share their lives with us. They answered questions about school and peers, their neighborhoods, and how they felt about adults. Their answers were honest and served as a great reminder to the adults in the room. Following our panel, Major Gail led us in an activity to help demonstrate how we can work together to help meet the needs of our young people. 

We spent Saturday considering Discipline With Dignity, a model of discipline that focuses on offering young people choices and teaches them responsibility. 

At the conclusion of the weekend, we asked each participant to share how they plan to love their young people better. Here are some of their answers:

  • I will love my young people better by being prepared for them, by respecting their opinions, and knowing them better.
  • I plan to solicit youth input relating to programming. 
  • I plan to be more intentional in learning about what makes them unique. I will encourage and support them in their passions. 
  • I will purposely recognize positive efforts made by each young person. 
  • I plan to get to know our young people personally, outside of the typical corps programming, by supporting them in their extracurricular activities.
  • I will seek out commonalities and place emphasis on that, all the while acknowledging the differences and how they are not things to fear, but looked at as valuable learning opportunities.
  • I plan to love them by supporting them and encouraging them in what they love to do.
  • I wil show my love to young people by getting to them better by learning more about their interests and aspirations.
  • I want to get into deeper, meaningful relationships with my fellow leaders so that we can better understand how to care for our young people.
  • I plan to be intentional about relationship and letting them know they matter.
  • I will involve them in decision making. 

We look forward to hearing how these ideas take hold in the weeks to come!