Character

Shot of two people wearing boots on a trail in the forest

The definition of friendship

By Patty Beadle, Youth Frontiers’ Director of External Relations

We’ve talked a lot about “seeing the other more completely” at Youth Frontiers for the past year, but the crux of this idea is not new to us. Like all of our annual themes at YF, “seeing the other” is just another way to approach our mission to build positive communities. There is one type of community I’d like to focus on right now: friendship.READ MORE

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YFLC Group of students laughing together in front of a youth frontiers banner

I will lead.

“I am a leader.” On paper, it’s a simple phrase. Spoken aloud by hundreds of 11th-grade students from schools across an entire community, it’s deeply moving.

At any Youth Frontiers Leadership Conference (YFLC), the air reverberates with these declarations of character. All students in attendance are there because an educator saw leadership qualities within them. But they are also there for greater reasons: to connect with students they may otherwise only encounter through competition, to build positive relationships, and to develop strategies for improving their schools at this key time in their high school careers.READ MORE

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quote saying: if we're going to find our way back to each other, we have to understand and know empathy. brene brown

Empathy: how to raise kids who care

By Erin Walsh, Mind Retreat Facilitator; Mind Positive Parenting

“I’d like you to close your eyes,” I often say at workshops that I facilitate across the country. “Now visualize the kind of adults you hope your children become.”

I add that I am not interested in them conjuring up logistical visions, for example, where they hope their children go to school or the kind of job they hope they get. Instead, I ask them to think about the character traits they hope their children have as adults.

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Student shaking hand with a youth frontiers retreat leader

See Rather Than Be Seen

By Joe Cavanaugh, Youth Frontiers Founder and CEO

Last school year as I embarked on a Design Year sabbatical, the following statement from Mark Nepo’s “The Book of Awakening” were guiding words: “We need not see more rightly, but rather more completely.”

I encouraged my staff to live up to that saying in a year of tumultuous partisanship, growing incivility and demonization of the “other” – whoever that “other” may be. This focus brought clear intention to my experiences abroad and to our mission.READ MORE

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2016 Youth Frontiers Minnesota Character Award Winner, Samantha HoangLong, caregiving for her grandfather

Making Grandpa Proud

By Samantha HoangLong, Youth Frontiers’ 2016 Character Award Winner

I was only 16 years old. Yet I was down on my knees, changing the diaper of an 89-year-old Vietnamese man.

Every day when I approached him, holding a clean diaper in my hand, I hoped that the dirty one was “light.” Sometimes he’d pee too much and soak the diaper, making everything around him wet. I would have to wipe him down and change his clothes.

At 16, I should have been hanging out with friends and staying up late watching Netflix. But I realized how this old man must feel — incapable of doing a simple task. A young woman had to change his diaper for him.

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Youth Frontiers entire staff photo

Now’s the time to lead

By Sarah Gavigan, Youth Frontiers Communications Specialist

It’s September, and we could not be more excited. We enter the 2017-18 school year with the momentum of last propelling us forward. We are honored to have worked with 126,934 students and educators on 861 retreats in 2016-17. This year, we aim to facilitate 873 retreats to reach 128,001 individuals – we hope that “1” is you.

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Questions to Ask Yourself as the School Year Winds Down

By Justin Minkel 

Think of a school year as a human life. It has a birth, messy and hopeful and new. It has a death, too. That last day will soon come when the individual personalities who make up our class will never be together as a class again. In between, a lot happens: new abilities acquired in fits and starts, a midlife crisis or two when it all feels hard and hopeless, and some peace near the end with all that was accomplished and all that wasn’t.READ MORE

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Youth Frontiers Leadership Conferences

Student leaders commit to improving their schools

This year, we facilitated a record-breaking eight Youth Frontiers Leadership Conferences (YFLC)! During the course of these conferences, hundreds of students from diverse backgrounds, geographic regions and academic settings gathered to acknowledge their ability to lead their schools and improve their communities. We held two YFLCs in the Twin Cities, Minn., two in Omaha, Neb., two in Milwaukee, Wis., one in Manitowoc, Wisc. and one in Green Bay, Wisc. We were inspired by the students’ commitments to making their schools better places, and we wanted to share some of them with you.READ MORE

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