Nonprofit Quarterly recently published an article that got me thinking about the benefits and challenges of including young people in governance structures. “Preparing the Board Leaders of Tomorrow by Involving Youth in Governance Today” explains how the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania (GSEP) have involved the girls they service into the organization's governance. As a youth development and leadership organization, the the Girl Scouts are well positioned for this. It aligns with their mission and quite frankly, makes sense.
Many theological schools have a designated "student" position on the board, although I'm sure that in many cases, the student representative is an experienced professional adult rather than a young person. Nevertheless, it is interesting to consider ideas for growing leaders from within the student body. In a changing landscape, what types of people will we need on our boards in the future? How will we prepare them? Could we begin to involve them now?
The outcome of these discussions will be different at different institutions. Do you have student representatives? Or recent graduates on the board? Could your boardroom be a training ground for future leaders? If not, how can you capture the ideas, enthusiasm and views of younger people as you prepare your institution to move into the future?
These are conversations worth having and questions worth answering. Our leaders and institutions of tomorrow counting on it.