Youth and Social Change: Using Facilitative Leadership Practices for Youth Empowerment
This capstone paper attempts to clarify the concept of facilitative leadership and how such practices can support youth empowerment and social change in community. This discussion of leadership is guided by the concepts described in the principles of the Community Youth Development (CYD) social movement, which strives to have youth and adults work in partnership to build safe, healthy, just and sustainable communities. This paper ultimately seeks to reveal what elements such as tools, skills, trainings, and supports need to be in place for youth to become empowered to take on social change efforts in their community. After looking at several similar models of leadership, focusing particularly on facilitative leadership and seeing where it is useful and where it is deficient, this capstone examines how facilitative leadership practices impact the growing social movement of CYD.
By using participatory research processes, information was gathered to help define what facilitative leadership looks like in community. Focus groups were then conducted with youth and they were asked what elements would need to exist for them to take active leadership roles in addressing issues in their community. These two bodies of research were then combined to indicate in what ways youth are looking to be engaged. The research indicated that youth feel dominated in an adult-oriented world and would like to see changes in four areas: to learn more practical skills, to create more supportive infrastructure in community, to shift paradigms of youth and adults, and to create demonstrations where youth can learn from the experiences and successes of their peers.
Facilitative leadership addresses some of these needs, but it becomes apparent that other aspects of effective leadership need to also be considered.