Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)



First Advisor

Velma J. Lashbrook

Second Advisor

Gary Hesser


In conducting this research I investigated the effectiveness of youth leadership development programming in the Wilder Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI), a program located in St. Paul, Minnesota. For this qualitative case study, I used participant observation, semi-structured interviews and a survey to explore the development and demonstration of specific leadership capacities and skills (communication and interpersonal skills, analytical and critical functioning, decision making skills, personal identity, project management, reflection, and sense of empowerment) among youth participants. I also explored the programmatic structures that facilitate Youth Leadership Development (in the context of a cause chosen by youth, explicit outcomes, developmentally appropriate experiences, youth assessment and feedback, varied learning methods, follow up and ongoing support, communication with families, well trained and supervised staff, and skill practice, action, membership, and modeling,) Based upon this research, I discuss the effectiveness of youth development programming that, in addition to building skills, provides for authentic voice and the practice of leadership.


SC 11.MAL.2011.Phillips.SM