Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. Youth Frontiers is building a better tomorrow by inspiring students to live lives of character.
Why do schools partner with Youth Frontiers?

A young person’s character shapes their destiny and impacts their community. Research shows that students with high social-emotional learning and character skills perform better academically and take responsibility for the culture of their school. Character traits are built and enhanced by experiences throughout our lifetimes. Youth Frontiers reaches kids at critical ages and provides dynamic experiences that enhance self-awareness, empathy and connectedness.

Our Mission

Youth Frontiers’ mission is to partner with schools to build communities where students thrive socially, emotionally and academically. We offer one-day retreats on timeless values like kindness, courage and respect for students in fourth–12th grades. Youth Frontiers also offers educator retreats to help schools support their educators and create cohesive teams all focused in a common direction: their students. Learn about our eight different retreats.

You matter. Others matter. What you do matters.

Our Story

In 1987, Joe Cavanaugh met a student named Diane who told him about being bullied at school. She said, “There are these kids at school who make fun of me every day. Can you do anything to stop them?” This question was the catalyst that inspired Joe to launch Youth Frontiers. He wanted to build school communities where every person is treated with dignity and respect. Today, on all Youth Frontiers retreats, we tell students that they – as well as the people in their communities – matter. We show them that there is power behind their actions.

Youth Frontiers exists to inspire character and build communities. In community, we hold one another accountable for behaviors and we stand up for one another. When we are connected and feel a sense of belonging, we treat people better. We treat ourselves better.


General Colin Powell, former Chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, has described Joe Cavanaugh, CEO and Founder of Youth Frontiers, as

“A leader in our nation’s effort to
rescue America’s young people.”