Smiling Teenagers

Book Review Part 1: Developing Teen Leadership

I was recently asked to review a book on teen leadership. The book is called Developing Teen Leadership: A Practical Guide for Youth Group Advisors, Teachers and Parents. It is written by Dan Appleman who has 20 years of experience working with youth.

While this book is not specifically written for scouting programs, many of the ideas expressed in it correlate directly with some of the methods used in scouting. I think some of the advice offered in the book can be very helpful to Scouters working with youth in Boy Scouts and Venturers.

The book is divided into five sections. Today I am reviewing Part 1 – Guiding Principals. This section includes 25 chapters, but don’t despair. Each “chapter” is really only one or two pages. Each chapter gives a very specific piece of advice for adults working with teens.

I have given the complete list of chapters in part 1 at the bottom of this page. I think some of them will resonate immediately with Scouters. For example, Chapter 1: Anything they can do, they should do parallels the familiar quote from Baden-Powell: “Never do anything a boy can do.” Similarly, Let them fail, Don’t be a back-seat driver, and Who owns the group? delve into ideas which have been presented to us in adult leader training.

The chapters in this part are straightforward. The language is easy to understand, unlike some books of this type which are full of jargon and seem to be aimed at psychologists  rather than the average parent. Most of the chapters in the first part end with a list of phrases you can practice to bring the idea into your program. In many cases I wouldn’t say things the way the author does, but the phrases do make you consider how you are dealing with your teens and if there is a better way of going about it.

So while this book is not specific to Scouting I would recommend that you read it just to think about some of the ideas presented about working with teens. I think they will come in particularly handy when dealing with the teenagers in our Venture crew.

I will review the other parts of the book in later posts. You can learn more about the book on Amazon. So, as promised, here is the complete list of topics covered in the first part of the book:

  1. Anything they can do, they should do
  2. Don’t try to get them to like you; earn their respect
  3. Thou shalt not lie
  4. Let them fail
  5. Limits
  6. Find ways to say yes
  7. Initiative and control
  8. Admit your hypocrisies
  9. Role modeling is everything
  10. Apologize for your mistakes
  11. Set high expectations, but not perfection
  12. You really don’t know best
  13. Wait – most problems solve themselves
  14. Be a back-seat driver
  15. Don’t take it personally
  16. Talking back is good
  17. Plant seeds
  18. Boundaries and rules
  19. Being there
  20. Consistency
  21. Who owns the group?
  22. Trust
  23. Remember the positive
  24. Turf and communication
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