Youth Frontiers: 25 Years of Impact
More than eight out of 10 schools bring Youth Frontiers back each school year to work with their students and educators to create a culture of respect. Here’s why.
We speak kid
Youth Frontiers has worked with 1,090,000 students and educators since our inception in 1987.
This year alone, YF will facilitate 680 retreats for more than 90,000 students and educators. Our experiential learning model – the process of making meaning from direct experiences – works for all kids. We work with schools in rural, suburban and urban areas with student populations from all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Teachers trust our best practice retreat format to reach kids of all learning styles and to ignite changes in all kids’ attitudes and behaviors.
Click here to see our client list.
The Kindness Retreat was superb! It was a riveting experience to watch our students when they shared testimonials that were complimentary of others and self-reflective of their own behaviors.
– Teacher, Kyrene del Norte Elementary School, Chandler, Ariz.
We have world class staff
95 percent of educators rate the quality of our retreat staff and their facilitation of the retreats as excellent.
Our retreats are dependent on the quality of our retreat staff, so we hire the most dynamic and talented youth professionals in the country.
Our staff are youth-oriented and can engage even the toughest students.
The two staff held the attention of the seventh and eighth graders ALL DAY. Enough said.
– Teacher, Eveleth-Gilbert Junior High, Eveleth, Minn.
Year after year, Youth Frontiers would bring different leaders to each retreat, all quality individuals who brought something new to the table, making each retreat better than the last. As a middle school principal in a new district, I knew making the Courage Retreat part of our school year was a must.
– Principal, United South Central Middle School, Wells, Minn.
We enhance social-emotional learning
Students obtain and enhance social-emotional learning (SEL) competencies like empathy, perspective-taking and conflict resolution.
As part of a network of support in schools, YF is a critical piece of the puzzle in creating safe and caring school cultures where learning thrives. The University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement recently completed a three-year evaluation that demonstrates how YF is teaching critical SEL skills, which, according to research from the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, is inherently connected to academic success.
Besides building their self-esteem, the retreat has taught students much about team building, conflict resolution and how to communicate best with others. It has also helped them to learn to take risks and build consensus.
– Director, The Blake School, Minneapolis, Minn.
We build and deepen connection.
Students feel more connected to classmates and teachers, and to school.
We work with all kids in a grade level, something that differentiates YF from other programs that may only target certain populations. This purposeful bringing together of students breaks down social barriers and deepens existing relationships. Teachers often comment on how they see students in a new light and vice versa.
Specifically during the last decade, Richfield High School and its students have benefited significantly from working with Youth Frontiers’ leadership team on school-wide goals in areas such as respecting and appreciating diversity, building relationships and fostering a sense of trust and community in our school.
– Principal, Richfield High School, Richfield, Minn.
I didn’t have any friends, but after the Courage Retreat, everyone is talking to me and some want to be my friends. So, thank you, Youth Frontiers.
– Student, Oltman Junior High School, St. Paul Park, Minn.
We develop leaders
YF provides excellent leadership development for high school students.
Schools bring us in not only to benefit the class we are working with, but also to help develop the leadership skills of older students who serve as volunteer small-group leaders throughout the retreat day. Many schools also continue the relationship between these mentors and their small groups throughout the year. Using older students as mentors is a best practice in a retreat format learning experience. Whether it is older students, community adults, parents or teachers, these role models of character help Youth Frontiers staff create a safe and caring environment that fosters attitudinal and behavioral change in the students.
Even with our challenges of high poverty, multi-ethnic and even multi-language students, the retreat was a great success. There was a strong presence of high school peer leaders, most of whom were of color. These students provided great role modeling, a link to high school, enthusiasm and leadership.
– Principal, Sanford Middle School, Minneapolis, Minn.
Dear Youth Frontiers: I was a group leader for a Courage Retreat for Kirn Middle School. It was a life-changing experience not only for the students there, but for me too. It was an amazing thing seeing all the kids come out of their shells. Thank you so much for the experience.
– High school leader on a Courage Retreat, Kirn Middle School, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Read our Key Research Findings of our internal and independent evaluation projects to date.