Character

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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What if we drew inspiration from a subway violinist?

By Tony Lehr, Youth Frontiers Retreat Musician

When did our daily rhythms become so comfortable that we hesitate to break them, even for a moment? How rarely do we choose to stray from our routinized path, as we take step after step each day? Why do we often go through life wearing self-prescribed blinders that hide all but our own worlds from our views?

These were all questions I started asking myself while reading an article in “The Washington Post” about famed violinist Joshua Bell.

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Monticello students participated in a Respect Retreat and the YFLC

It starts with respect

By Sarah Barchus, Youth Frontiers Communications Specialist

At Monticello High School, it all starts with respect. For the second year in a row, Monticello has held a Respect Retreat® for ninth graders on the first day of school.

The Respect Retreat helps new students get a picture of what the school values, Monticello’s Assistant Principal, John Reeves explained. “[It] helps us start the year off in a great way.”READ MORE

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Joe's meeting with F.W. de Klerk in South Africa

A Lesson in Empathy from South Africa’s F.W. de Klerk

By Joe Cavanaugh, Youth Frontiers Founder and CEO

This school year, with the support of our Board of Directors, I’ve been able to step back and spend time in some fascinating places with the intent to “see the other more completely” and build the vision for the next 30 years of Youth Frontiers. Recently, I had the opportunity to study, volunteer and work in South Africa, meeting with many amazing people who are doing good work to heal the deep emotional scars of Apartheid. My experiences and the people that I met have reinforced my belief in the importance of the Youth Frontiers mission and the values we teach students every day: moral courage, empathy and respect for human dignity.READ MORE

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The Intersection

By Todd Hansen, Director of Programs and Experiences

Dear Reader,

Our school retreats are the heart of what we do at Youth Frontiers (YF), but for those who haven’t experienced one, they can be challenging to conceptualize. Individuals new to YF often draw from what they know: “So, it’s like a school assembly?” “A lecture?” “A concert?” “Camp?” While our retreats contain some similar elements, identifying an experience that closely depicts what we do – other than “a retreat” – has been tricky. Recently, I rediscovered one of my writings, and I realized that a fitting parallel to our retreats is, of all things, an intersection:
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Youth Frontiers Goes to Camp

By Sarah Barchus, Youth Frontiers Communications Specialist

We are all about building community at Youth Frontiers, and sometimes we take that part of our mission very literally. Last Monday, our staff traveled to Camp Tanadoona, where we spent the afternoon building a challenge course, renovating the facilities and packing healthy snacks for the next wave of hungry campers.READ MORE

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Doing Good Together

Doing Good Together: 50 Family Acts of Kindness

By Sarah Aadland, Doing Good Together

If you’re awake and near a screen, it’s likely you’re feeling a sense of urgency. The endless connectivity of our devices can’t help but give us an endless feeling of lagging behind. Whether your anxiety is generated by an overflowing workload, bulging schedule or the ongoing parade of alarming headlines, now is a great time to take a breath. Find your inner quiet, and focus on family acts of compassion right in your own community.READ MORE

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Youth Frontiers Retreat Musician performs on a Respect Retreat

Aña’s Story

By Debra G, Youth Frontiers Retreat Musician

I first met Aña* at a Courage Retreat for Fridley Middle School’s eighth graders around 13 years ago. It was the school’s first Courage Retreat, and the space we held it in was dark and almost too small for the number of students who participated that day.

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Raedean_Greater Expectations

Greater expectations

By Raedean Foote, Youth Frontiers School Relations Representative

“If a child grows up never seeing themselves represented [in the media] as successful or as the hero, then they are the anomaly if they succeed and the expectation if they fail.” – Yara Shahidi

By this standard, society definitely expected that I would fail. To start, I was born to an unwed white mother and a black father, and in the early 80s, being racially mixed didn’t feel “normal.” Aside from my brother, it’s hard to recall other multiracial children in my neighborhood, classroom or even at the grocery store – forget about seeing someone on TV who had the same shade of skin as I did. I grew up in a single-parent household, in subsidized housing, and in the free-and-reduced lunch program. As a kid with my background, it was hard to identify with those society portrayed as successful.
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