Character

Allison taking a hike and practicing mindfulness.

The benefits of moving from autopilot to mindfulness

What is your autopilot?

It may look like getting your kids up and fed and ready for school while eating the leftovers from their plates, calling it “breakfast,” then rushing out the door and speeding to work while worrying about whether or not you are going to be late for your 8 a.m. meeting.

It may look like showing up to an appointment having no recollection of driving there because you were preoccupied with thinking, “I have so much to do.”

My autopilot was committing to things, doing them in the least amount of time possible and then committing to new things the moment I had a second to spare. I made coffee my fuel and convinced myself that sleep was overrated. I spent my time doing; this was my autopilot.READ MORE

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The Y Corps: Genevieve, Kevin, Maggie, Dahlia and Traiveon

YCorps Spotlight: Dahlia Jones

We are so grateful for our wonderful staff at Youth Frontiers (YF), from our full-time and part-time employees to our YCorps. The Youth Frontiers YCorps (Youth Corps) is a seven-month internship program that gives emerging leaders the opportunity to facilitate, along with our full-time staff, life-changing retreats for schools all over the upper Midwest. The YCorps do a lot to further our mission, so we want to celebrate their skills and stories on our blog in a five-part spotlight Q&A series. Our third YCorps member in the spotlight is Dahlia Jones. READ MORE

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Students having productive small-group conversation on a Kindness Retreat

Seven Civil Conversation Skills to Use When You Disagree

Everyone wants to be heard, from kids, to grown-ups, to long-lost relatives across the holiday table. But too often, we steer clear of the issues we really care about, hovering instead on weather patterns and sports news.

These days, even those issues can feel risky.

Every topic worth discussing carries the risk of conflict, and we, as a society, seem to be losing our knack for disagreement.

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Students dancing on retreat — silliness and laughter abound

Laughter is the greatest equalizer

When is the last time you took time to play? To make space for spontaneity, to let goofiness be your guide and to laugh — freely, openly and in your own signature way. Remember how that laughter felt? The boisterous bubbling sensation as your lungs filled with oxygen. The lightness of it. The clean, bright clarity it left in its wake. And the openness, the newfound space in your heart and in your mind. When was the last time?

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Moved by a Youth Frontiers Retreat, an educator hugs a colleague

Educator reveals Youth Frontiers’ long-term impact

Our retreats help inspire students to act with character and build community within schools. We can say this with confidence because we see it every day — kids apologizing to those they’ve left out or persistently teased, friends thanking friends for their steadfast support, students connecting with classmates they’ve never interacted with, and shy kids speaking from their hearts in front of everyone. What we don’t often see is how these students remember their retreats 10 or 15 years later. A few months ago, we did.READ MORE

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Tim Welsh on stage asks us to go beyond Minnesota Nice

More than Minnesota Nice

By Tim Welsh, Vice Chairman of Consumer Banking Sales and Support for U.S. Bank

The following content is adapted from Tim’s keynote at Youth Frontiers’ 2017 Ethical Leadership Luncheon.

Let me start by thanking all of you for being here today to discuss ethical leadership and to support the amazing work of Youth Frontiers. It is a very busy time of year, and I know that all of you have many demands on your time. I suspect some of you were like me when you looked at your calendar this morning. You had more work to do then you had realized, and you asked yourself if you could really spare the time to go off to a luncheon. I am very grateful that you chose to focus on such an important topic and to help an organization that has touched the lives of literally millions of young people in this community and around the Midwest, including my own kids. READ MORE

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A shelf grid of many Russian nesting dolls

Show Students Who They Could Become by Accepting Their Full Selves

By Justin Minkel

My mom is a play therapist and a miracle worker. Her secret power sounds simple: She absolutely accepts children as they are. Not as their teachers, classmates or parents wish they would be. As they actually are — in all their turbulent, disruptive, exasperating glory.

The children she works with throw rocks, scream in class and bite the other kids. When they throw rocks at her, she says, “You are really strong to be able to throw those rocks so far!” When they scream as loud as they can, she says, “That’s amazing that you can get out all your anger like that. I wish I could do that!”

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