Youth development is a process that prepares young people to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through a coordinated, progressive series of activities and experiences which help them gain skills and competencies. Youth leadership is part of that process. Youth leadership is both an internal and an external process leading to (1) the ability to guide or direct others on a course of action, influence their opinion and behavior, and show the way by going in advance; and (2) the ability to analyze one’s own strengths and weaknesses, set personal and vocational goals, and develop the self-esteem to carry them out.
In order to control and direct their own lives based on informed decisions, youth development and leadership need to be included as core components of transition programming for all youth, including youth with disabilities.
NCWD/Youth is supporting youth leadership and development through its Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT).