Youth Participation

Organizations dealing with issues relevant to youth are increasingly recognizing that youth involvement helps form policy that is more effective and responsive to the needs and preferences of young adults. The presence of youth on groups can remind adults what being an adolescent is actually like! Further, involving youth in problem-solving and community dialogue helps them develop civic responsibility by giving young people a voice in shaping the policies and outcomes designed to benefit them. Offering youth the opportunity to help develop the policies that will impact them is a sure way to create buy-in, ownership, and ultimately, better policies. And you may even find that adults are positively influenced by the presence of an energetic young person!

There are a number of logistical, legal, and cultural issues to keep in mind when involving youth in your group. It is strongly recommended you take some time as a group and openly address the issues below before youth group members begin to attend meetings.