Survey: Youth troubled with leaders of today

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youth leadership

As the presidential election hoists leadership to the forefront of national dialogue, a new survey asks America's youth to weigh in on the topic – finding that today's leaders are believed to have their own agendas and demonstrate weak leadership. Additionally, young people would like better preparation as leaders.

Ninety percent (90%) of young people say they are concerned about the future leadership of America, and two-thirds are more confident in the next generation of leaders than in the leaders they see today. This is according to the 4-H National Youth Survey on Leadership conducted online by Harris Poll among 1,501 9th through 12th grade students.

National 4-H Council released the survey findings last week at a youth-led rally in Washington, D.C. to kick off the 4-H Grow True Leaders Campaign – giving young people across the country a forum to put their voices into positive action and rally the nation to invest in the next generation of true leaders.

More than 1,500 youth nationwide responded to the survey, which revealed:

"America is facing a critical need for more leaders – true leaders – who are prepared with the skills to deal with the problems of today and the challenges of tomorrow," said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO, National 4-H Council. "A true leader leads by example, works well with others, tackles tough challenges head-on and sticks with a job until it's done. This campaign is giving youth a platform to ask for more support in preparing them to lead and to be recognized for their positive contributions."

More than 300 youth gathered at the 4-H Grow True Leaders Rally where they identified specific areas they want more support from adults: hands-on experience in leadership roles, programs to build confidence and regular encouragement to lead. They asked adults to offer positive encouragement of young people by participating in the True Leaders Shout Out online – sharing positive messages and photos or videos using #TrueLeaders to shout out a young true leader who exemplifies a positive example of courage, responsibility and resilience.

Youth also shared action platforms for the issues identified in the survey as most important to America's youth:

(1) Access to College;

(2) Jobs & The Economy;

(3) Bullying; and

(4) The Environment.

They were joined by Grammy award-winning music artist and 4-H National Spokeswoman Jennifer Nettles and 2016 Miss America Betty Cantrell; both are 4-H alumna. Other notable 4-H alumni include CNN host Nancy Grace, Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth, U.S. Congresswoman Terri Sewell, and Weekend TODAY host Craig Melvin.

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