Youth Frontiers

Girl wearing backpack facing away walking down a street in autumn

HUGS – how one girl helps foster kids

By Sarah Gavigan, Youth Frontiers Communications Specialist

We facilitate retreats because we want all students to know that they matter, others matter and what they do matters. Sometimes the way students respond to this message astounds us.

The day after her Courage Retreat®, Guadalupe reached out to Youth Frontiers with a favor to ask. She requested that we send her not one, not a hand-full, but 4oo Courage buttons. That’s a lot of courage, we thought to ourselves. Why would a 12-year-old girl from Fort Atkinson, Wis., want so many small orange buttons? READ MORE

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Youth Frontiers candle with microphone

Experience – it’s what makes us who we are

By Kasia Heurth, former Youth Frontiers retreat participant

The lights go out, the darkness giving room to the dim candlelight. Around the candle sits a circle of high school seniors. The silence is broken by shuffling followed by more silence and more shuffling. I can recall the warm candlelight casting highlights on the faces of my fellow classmates. I remember the silence that would welcome a classmate to the middle and share their four-year journey.READ MORE

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Minnesota Kind Button

What does it mean to be Minnesota Kind?

For nine years, Youth Frontiers has hosted its Ethical Leadership Luncheon, an event that attracts more than 550 of Minnesota’s brightest leaders to discuss fostering character in our communities today and building the next generation of ethical leaders. Last Thursday, Tim Welsh, Vice Chairman of Consumer Banking at U.S. Bank, led us in a discussion about how our community would experience positive growth if we went beyond Minnesota Nice to be Minnesota Kind. Here are some of our favorite moments of the event:READ MORE

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

YCorps Spotlight: Genevieve Kalland

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 first YCorps member in the spotlight is Genevieve Kalland. READ MORE

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small group leader leads discussion on a Kindness Retreat

Small-group leader best practice: connect first

By Sarah Gavigan, Youth Frontiers Communication Specialist

The first thing Shyla* noticed as she walked into the Kindness Retreat® was the noise of the room. It was a Tuesday and the day had just begun for Deephaven Elementary, but the fifth-graders were chatting like they had a week’s worth of life to discuss. Though their volume was great, their stature seemed quite small to Shyla. This was not what she had expected.READ MORE

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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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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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