The Council on Youth, Education, and Families of the National League of Cities (NLC) joins the youth development field throughout America and across the globe in both celebrating the life and mourning the loss of Peter Benson. As one of the earliest members of the YEF Council, Peter was a steadfast supporter and partner of NLC during the YEF Institute's first decade of work. He gave the keynote address at the 2002 Your City's Families conference held in Minneapolis, less than two years following the Institute's formal launch, and inspired the city officials who gathered there with his message of unrelenting hope and his call for communities to come together in building and tapping the assets of their young people.
In succeeding years, Peter was a ready source of wise counsel and advice as the YEF Institute grew and developed. His vision of a "Big Tent" conference that pulled together diverse segments of the youth development field represented his most recent focus for collaboration with NLC; he briefed YEF Council members on plans for the event and contributed in many other ways to the Council's deliberations during its June 2010 meeting in Saint Paul.
So many individuals who had the privilege of knowing and working closely with Peter were touched by his unique blend of powerful insight, deep knowledge, spiritual grounding, and personal caring. In all of these ways, his presence will be greatly missed as those committed to creating communities - and indeed a nation - that truly value young people seek to continue his important work. The Council on Youth, Education, and Families honors Peter Benson's enduring legacy, and extends its deepest condolences to his family and former colleagues at Search Institute.