Youth Frontiers

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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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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