Courage Retreat Tag

A Story of a Courageous Student Named Anthony

At Youth Frontiers, it’s our mission to positively impact school communities through our retreats. One wonderful part of our job is that the same students we reach often impact us in turn. For our staff, these students and their stories are unforgettable. In this series, we remember them.

This is a story of a student and his display of courage.

I remember Anthony. 

Anthony was an eighth grader who was so excited about the day. He was running up to myself and other facilitators giving us high-fives, he was dancing in front of his entire class. He was just an awesome, really fun guy.

And so I was really surprised to learn that he was one of the number one targets at his school.

And I was more surprised when Anthony got up to share at the end of his Courage Retreat.

He said, “Hi, my name is Anthony, and my Act of Courage is to be myself and to quit trying to impress you all so much.

I know you all egg me on to make some really dumb choices and you push me around. I hear the names that you call me. And, I know that you say ‘you’re just kidding’, but honestly, you have no idea how much they impact me.

You have no idea how much courage it takes for me just to get up and come to school everyday.

So, I’m going to ask you all to please quit and I’m just going to be myself. I hope that you respect that.”

Nobody moved.

I mean for a solid minute. People just sat there with their heads down. Some people started to cry.

I don’t think anybody realized how much their words were impacting and hurting Anthony until he got up and shared his Act of Courage that day.

Coolest thing was that after he shared, old friends of his got up and they apologized to him for being a part of what was making his life so miserable at school.

And by the end of the day, there was that big smile on Anthony’s face again. But, we knew at that point that it was the real deal. It was a real smile.

He felt heard. He felt seen.

It was an amazing day. I’ll never forget, Anthony.


This year, on The Character Movement, we are trying something new. We’ll be delving into one of our retreat values each month, examining it on our blog and in our Character Challenges. This month’s theme is honor.

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A Donor’s Perspective on Leadership and Youth Frontiers

The following content is taken from an interview with Ann Miller, 100th Anniversary Project Manager at Liberty Diversified International and long-time supporter of Youth Frontiers. 

How did you first connect with Youth Frontiers?

We’ve been supporting YF for, gosh, I don’t even know how many years. I don’t know exactly how my parents, Mike and Linda Fiterman, found the Youth Frontiers mission, but they’ve believed in it a long time. I got more involved in it through my career at Liberty Diversified International (LDI), and my daughter’s been connected through living exactly what they do. And so even though all three generations of our family are highly energized and engaged with Youth Frontiers’ mission, I think we are engaged for different reasons. In the last five years, we’ve really put that partnership on steroids because we think that it’s needed more now than ever.

For us, it’s all about leadership and it’s about legacy. And the leadership piece is how do we create stronger leaders not only at LDI, our company, but how do we create stronger future leaders? And what better way to create that legacy than with kids. And when we thought about how do we create this lasting legacy of leadership we knew Youth Frontiers was just a super partner for us.

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Community — It's about all of us

It’s about all of us

At Youth Frontiers, we unabashedly challenge kids to make our world better. And every day, we get to witness students stand up and lead with character — students like Maple Grove seventh grader, Eve Miller.

Eve wanted to bring four Courage Retreats to her school because her class has been grappling with bullying. She worked hard to raise the funds by reaching out to family, friends and community members.READ MORE

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Moved by a Youth Frontiers Retreat, an educator hugs a colleague

Educator reveals Youth Frontiers’ long-term impact

Our retreats help inspire students to act with character and build community within schools. We can say this with confidence because we see it every day — kids apologizing to those they’ve left out or persistently teased, friends thanking friends for their steadfast support, students connecting with classmates they’ve never interacted with, and shy kids speaking from their hearts in front of everyone. What we don’t often see is how these students remember their retreats 10 or 15 years later. A few months ago, we did.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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It Takes a Village

At Youth Frontiers, we recognize that at the root of our success is partnership. Without the support and commitment of donors, educators, parents and students our goal to build community and inspire character would not be possible. Youth Frontiers’ partnership with Douglas County (DC) West Middle School, in Omaha, Neb., exemplifies the difference that can be made when we are united to change the way kids treat each other in every hallway, lunch line and classroom of every school in America.READ MORE

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