Skip to Content

Youth Leadership Development Toolkit


Youth Leadership Development Toolkit


Leadership development is a hot topic among urban practitioners. The resources in this toolkit can help FBOs design effective youth leadership development programs that emphasize both skills and character. This toolkit provides information to help urban youth workers get oriented to the topic of youth leadership development, offers a taste of some of the leading curricula, and includes helpful forms that can be used in program evaluation.



Project Development Tools


Does Your Organization Have the “DNA” Required to Start a Youth Leadership Development Program?    



Use this self-assessment checklist to determine whether your FBO is ready—in terms of your organizational culture—to launch a youth leadership development initiative.       


Do Your Volunteers Have What it Takes to be Part of a Youth Leadership Program?



This checklist focuses practitioners on issues they should look for in evaluating whether current volunteers are likely to be effective helpers in a youth leadership development program.


Getting Oriented: Choosing a Youth Leadership Development Curriculum

For those new to the field of leadership development, this short article introduces the main types of curricula available.



Project Implementation Tools


10 Steps for Implementing a Youth Leadership Development Program

The name says it all. This guidance document will help practitioners in designing and planning a new youth leadership initiative.


Teaching Youth to Identify Essential Qualities of a Leader

Adapted from a sample lesson, this tool will help teachers lead a focused and hands-on discussion of the key character traits of effective leaders.


Helps for Teaching Youth Effective Listening and Communication Skills

Youth leadership development programs often emphasize skill-building. This article will give program directors key tips on training youth to be good communicators.


Active Listening: A Self-Test 

Use this tool with students in the leadership development program, so they can begin to evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses as listeners.


Helping Youth to Develop Tolerance and Appreciation for Diversity

In our increasingly diverse society, youth need to develop an ability to interact well with those who are different. These exercises will help youth grow in that skill.


Ten Steps for Preparing a Great Speech

Effective leaders are effective public speakers. The ten steps and additional helpful hints offered in this short article will help youth strengthen their ability in this area.


Gender Differences:  A Worksheet on Leadership Styles 

This worksheet will stimulate lively discussion, as it compares and contrasts the pro’s and con’s of modern versus traditional leadership styles.


Conflict Resolution 

Learning how to resolve conflicts peacefully is an essential skill, especially as urban youth are enmeshed in racially and culturally diverse environments, where values and perspectives differ. This exercise offers practical guidance for students to defuse tense situations and manage conflict. It also includes an 8-step “process of atonement” for achieving reconciliation. 



Project Evaluation Tools


Youth Leadership Pre and Post Test

These forms will help youth leadership development program directors to assess where their students’ level of understanding and practice of various leadership skills and qualities stands at the outset of the program and at its conclusion.


Lessons Learned from a Veteran Youth Worker About Developing Indigenous Leaders


To what extent does your youth leadership development program, and your style as a program director, incorporate these key elements proven effective by one of the country's most successful urban youth leaders?


Sample Program Evaluation (for Program Participants)

Leaders of youth programs can use this tool to gather participating students’ feedback on the youth leadership program. Armed with this information, program managers can make adjustments to strengthen future programs.


Self Evaluation for Youth Leaders

Use this tool to help students evaluate their skills in several key areas such as communication, observation, problem-solving, and managing emotions.


Additional Resources


Check out these organizations and web-sites for further helpful tools, information, and resources.


Faith-Based Resources:


St. Mary’s Press

SMP, a Catholic organization, features over 50 trainings manuals, books, resources and publications on Hispanic Youth Ministry, Retreats, Games and Activities, Religious Education Curriculum, Leadership Development and other published youth development resources. SMP also offers workshops for both youth leaders and their adult mentors upon request.

Hispanic Ministry Center/Urban Youth Workers Institute

HMC, a partner organization of the National Network of Youth Ministries, hosts the largest Christian urban youth workers conference in the western regional United Stateseach year in May. The event gathers over 1,200 urban leaders from numerous denominations and ethnicities for training, networking, and refreshment. HMC provides year-round training and mentoring following the conference through their staff and resources provided on their website.


PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values


PANIM’s Center for Jewish Leadership provides programs for youth focused on leadership skills, empowerment and social justice programming


Jewish Institute for Youth and Families, Inc.

JIYF has a curriculum kit for Jewish educators on Becoming a Mentsh, a series of four teen-parent workshops which teach teens and parents to creatively apply Jewish ethical values to today’s problems and decisions.

 International Board of Educational Research and Resources (IBERR) 

IBERR has a Muslim Youth Leadership Guide for developing, implementing and evaluating a Muslim Youth Leadership program.


National Study of Youth and Religion

NSYR has a listing of links to 27 Youth Ministry Centers, Programs and Organizations that are helpful to those involved in youth ministry.


Youth Leadership Training Resources provides several Youth Leadership Development resources from a Catholic perspective for teens that are tailored to different faith traditions in addition to training materials encouraging interfaith dialogue.


Secular Resources:


Youth Leadership.Com

Youth has a library of youth leadership publications, listing of journals and magazines, organizations and websites, conferences and programs as well as professional development opportunities related to youth leadership development.


The Search Institute

The Search Institute offers training sessions on Youth, Money, and Assets, Service-Learning, Youth Leadership and Youth Empowerment in Your Community.  The Search Institute has a variety of printed resources available for online purchase.


 New Light Leadership Coalition

 NLLC provides a curriculum outline, training modules and an extensive list of recommended readings to correspond to the curriculum. NLLC also hosts Youth Leadership Development Trainings Program for schools and organizations upon request.


Effective Communities Project

This is a model for developing a community-based youth leadership development program. The website is organized around: program evaluation, organizational effectiveness, strategic grant making and capacity building.  ECP also provides Leadership Skill Development training for youth, staff persons and volunteers.


Fire Starter Youth Power Curriculum

As a free online tool, The Firestarter Curriculum works with young people to educate, engage, and empower this generation of social change leaders.  The website also includes excellent resources and links to how-to sites that can help youth take action and change their communities.


Center for Youth Development and Policy Research

The Academy for Educational Development is a wonderful resource for information about youth development trends, best practices, toolkits and other related publications.


The Innovation Center

The innovation center has a wealth of practical materials—training programs, tool kits, and other vehicles—to strengthen organizations, advance the field of youth development, and promote social justice. 


Related Articles
Lessons Learned from Veteran Urban Youth Worker Wayne Gordon

Related Books
Leadership 101: Developing Leadership Skills for Resilient Youth

Related Links

Conference Calendar
Find Others
Ask a Specialist