Essential Ingredients of Next Generation Leadership Development

Rich BirchBlog

Camp Mini-Yo-We’s mission is to develop tomorrow’s leaders through life-changing adventures in God’s creation. Our unique purpose is to help young leaders step into their areas of influence and figure out how to leverage their gifts and abilities to make the world a better place. On a deep level, Mini-Yo-We is a youth leadership organization that runs a kids camp as a platform for helping young leaders develop.

For over 73 years, young leaders have come in contact with our unique approach to development. There are some common ingredients that we see time and again as essential to fostering an environment that allows young leaders to thrive. Like the recipe of a fantastic meal, when an expert chef gets the mixture just right it creates something amazing. Here are a few of the core ingredients we see at Camp:

  • Heaps of Faith-filled Leaders // At the core of our leadership development programs is a team of leaders full of faith who want the best for the next generation of leaders. We believe that leadership is not just taught but caught as we expose young people to leaders who are making a difference. We use next-generation leaders who have been on their journeys a little longer as a model for what leadership could look like.
  • A Serving of Servanthood Experience // We deeply believe that leadership and influence is about serving others. It’s about putting the needs of others ahead of ourselves. It’s taking the low place and living a life of servanthood. All of our leadership pathway experiences have a heavy emphasis on serving others because good things happen when we help others. Helping young leaders to actually live that servanthood experience out is a big part of what we do at Camp.
  • A Pinch of Pressure // Emotional resilience is a vitally important part of any leaders life. One of our goals at Mini-Yo-We is to help our leaders develop the ability to withstand pressure and to lead through it. Through various adventures in the outdoors, young leaders develop an important resilience that will serve them for years to come. We allow enough pressure to help them grow but not too much to overwhelm a young leader. These adventures are lived out in a supportive environment that supplies our young leaders with the community they need to take on new challenges.
  • A Seasoning of Fun! // Fun is a big part of our strategy. We take what we do very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously! We know how to celebrate and have a good time. Fun helps leaders to not only relax but to develop community that will aid them down the road. We think that friendship is based on shared experience, and so we work hard to help our young leaders have great shared experiences that draw them closer together. Many Mini-Yo-We alumni still talk about the fun they had at Camp decades later. We love that because what they are talking about is the life-long community that was formed while having fun!
  • Blend in Some Self Reflection // In order to lead, you need to consider your own actions and their impact on others. At each of the stages in our leadership pathway, we ask our leaders to be self reflective about what they are experiencing and what they are learning from those experiences. This focus on personal reflection helps our young leaders drive deep the lessons gleaned from their time at Mini-Yo-We. As an example, each participant in our LIT program has a regular one-on-one session with a member of our team where the LIT is asked to reflect on what they are learning and how they can apply those lessons to life outside of Mini-Yo-We.

Join us for the summer of 2020 in one of our Leadership Pathway Programs!

Do you know some young leaders who might be interested in developing themselves this coming summer? We are looking for young leaders who are eager to grow and learn. Here are two programs that will be open for applications soon:

Enterprise (Ages 14-16)

Teens participate in two weeks of leadership development, personal discipleship, and outdoor adventure. This experience teaches our developing leaders the value of being a servant, which we believe is the bedrock of leading others. This program is the start of our process of transforming campers into leaders in our ministry. Find out more about the Enterprise program!

Leaders in Training (Ages 16-17)

Young leaders engage in six weeks of personal growth as leaders, Christ followers, and outdoor adventurers! This is the heart of our leadership development strategy and the gateway for young people joining our team. For decades, our LIT program has been at the leading edge of developing the next generation in the character, cadence, and competencies of leadership. Using a mixture of learning styles, our LIT program is designed to give our future leaders a strong foundational understanding and practice of leadership. Find out more about the LIT program.