Urban Programs Resource Network

About Extension

Leadership & Volunteer Development

University of Illinois Extension assists communities and organizations in developing skills and competencies in leadership education and volunteer development through innovative educational programs.

Leadership Development

Progressive and successful communities are often those where local adult and youth leadership capacity is developed, maintained and empowered. The larger the pool of leaders in a community, the greater the opportunities to create a climate for change. Identifying and using local leadership is essential to the success of any development project or activity. A base of leadership exists in every community to influence any decision-making body and ultimately affects the outcome of local projects. Two categories of leaders that are important: the people in existing leadership positions and those who are emerging leaders. By identifying the local leadership base and recognizing its strengths and limitations, communities can better use and enhance the talents of diverse individuals and groups.

Areas of leadership development relate to:

  • developing a strong base of leadership within communities;

  • training for local boards, councils, and professionals in leadership, organizational, and citizen process skills; and

  • providing practical strategies for strengthening team performance, conflict resolution, and group dynamics.

Volunteer Development

Volunteerism is an integral part of American society. During just one year, 51 percent of Americans volunteer their time, talents, services, and resources to help others. Estimates indicate that adult and youth volunteers give an average of 4.2 hours per week. Quality volunteer program development and management systems are importatnt in order to maintain successful programs.

Extension provides education and training in:

  • development and implementation of volunteer systems within the communities, including the development of master programs, middle-management systems, and service learning volunteer roles;

  • the major components of volunteer management of community organizations; and

  • in-service education for staff in community organizations.