Date of this Version
UCARE Poster session, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Research Fair, April 2016, Lincoln, NE.
Young leaders are an underutilized resource that can significantly impact a community’s human resource capital, and their development is essential for the transfer leadership through the generations. There is insufficient evidence to prove that youth leadership development programming truly increases young students’ influential capacity; additionally, there is no way to metrically determine programming success. To gain an understanding of the current status of youth leadership programs in Nebraska, fourteen youth programs claiming leadership as one of the top curriculum priorities were interviewed for the purpose of collecting quantitative data to be compiled to make general observations about programming strengths and weaknesses.
The observed weaknesses provide opportunity to see where improvements are needed in youth leadership development curriculums. Understanding the shortcomings and where measurements of success are needed gives future researchers and youth development professionals some of the information needed to start developing psychometrically sound, formal assessments. If this sort of measurement were created, organizations that rely on government grants, fundraising, and sponsors would be able to have quantifiable evidence that their programs are worth renewing contracts and continued funding. To create such an assessment, there is a desperate need for more research in regard to the effectiveness and efficiency of programming and the impact it may have in the community. There is also a pressing need for research concerning how to measure development in young leaders, because of a significant difference between adult leaders and young leaders.