An effective leadership program for teens builds skills in communications, leadership, problem solving, critical thinking, and human relations. The following strategies will help you accomplish this inside and outside of the classroom.

* Select powerful learning activities.

Select the right learning activities; they make the difference. Therefore, expose participants to activities that are highly interactive and thought provoking. And, when you give the instructions avoid telling teens the objectives. Let them experience the lesson. Save the objectives for the discussion.

* Plan challenging small group projects.

Small group projects encourage communication, problem solving, and team work. Find projects that require youth to work together over an extended period of time. Always appoint recorders to observe and report what happens in the groups.

* Organize interesting leadership internships.

Seek opportunities to get youth involved in community projects. Plan an assignment around a particular issue. Partner with government agencies, businesses, and nonprofits.

* Teach youth how to present themselves with poise and confidence.

Facilitate seminars on public speaking, interviewing, and etiquette. In regards to the former, videotape the participants delivering a short and a long informative or persuasive presentation. Moreover, teach teens the basics of proposal writing.

* Let youth serve as leaders.

Create a governing board made up of teens to deal with issues that may surface during the year. Let participants write the rules and regulations. Elect a different group of leaders each year.

In closing, youth need instruction and unique opportunities to develop critical skill sets. For this purpose, consider the ideas presented. Make the commitment to produce confident and competent future leaders.

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