Youth Frontiers

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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Upcoming summer road trip? Follow these tips!

As the school year comes to a close and you start planning weekend trips or family vacations, we wanted to share a few fun tips from our travel experts – or at the very least, our Retreat Staff who spend close to half the retreat season on the road! While few people love sitting in a van for six hours to drive to locations like Madison and Omaha, our Retreat Staff have mastered the art of successful road trips. We interviewed our staff to get some professional insights and the following are just a few suggestions before you pack up the car and go this summer:READ MORE

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Connection unleashes learning

Connection unleashes learning – this was the main message of our Pilot Mind Conference on May 4, 2017.

That Thursday evening, we gathered with educators from districts across the Twin Cities to talk teaching strategies informed by experience and by the latest brain research. Erin Walsh of Mind Positive Parenting and Youth Frontiers facilitated the experience. Erin shared with us her vision for the conference and her impression of its pilot.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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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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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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