The development of leadership contributes greatly to the positive development of young people both in school and within their local community.
- Young leaders demonstrate higher career aspirations, increased self-esteem, and improved educational outcomes (Bloomberg, Ganey, Alba, Quintero, & Alcantara, 2003).
- Leadership skills, such as goal-setting, problem-solving and sound decision-making, are not just necessary for leaders – these skills are needed for success in today’s world (MacNeil 2000).
- Helping young people develop leadership competencies makes them better members of their own community enhances their civic participation (O’Brien & Kohlmeier, 2003).
- Young people help to re-energize adults and counteract negative stereotypes of youth when they are successfully engaged in leadership within their communities (Zeldin, & Camino, 1999; Fiscus, 2003).
Leading is more about learning specific skills than possessing inherent natural qualities. In this way, being a leader is similar to being an athlete. Certainly, some children are born with attributes that aid in athletics, such as size and quick reflexes, but success in athletics requires thousands of hours of practice to acquire the skills needed for success. There is no substitute for practicing forehands and backhands if you wish to excel at tennis. Ultimately, success in any field is to do with the constant honing of skills through constant practice. Team playing, risk taking and developing strategies to positively influence others are all character strengths we seek to encourage. By continually offering young people the opportunity to lead, we allow them to develop greater personal drive and increase their determination to succeed.