Organizations and their activities, as well as the young individuals, can gain from youth involvement. Adolescent-led initiatives are more likely to engage the general population and have a larger impact as a result. When young people are involved in making decisions that affect them, they are more likely to accept, embrace, and integrate those decisions into their daily life.
Allowing teenagers to recognise and respond to community needs aids their development as sensitive, introspective individuals, preparing them to carry on this vital task in the future. Adolescents are treated as equal partners with adults expanding youth opportunities in the decision-making process when there is meaningful youth involvement. Instead of being made for adolescents, programmes and activities are developed with them in mind. In circumstances like this,
Here are some things to consider when attempting to engage young people and ensure that the experience benefits both the children and the programme.
Consider where your programme is now and where you want to be in the future in terms of young engagement. Every programme or activity cannot or should not include Level 5 youth. The ability of programme staff to devote time and resources to involving adolescents, the social enterprise sector aim, and institutional support for youth inclusion all influence the extent of youth involvement. The long-term viability of youth involvement is contingent on organisational infrastructure and support for involving adolescents.
Examine your organization’s activities to see where children’s participation would be most useful and practical. Define why young people should participate in their chosen activity. Determine the most effective method of including teenagers and the right level of involvement based on the aim.
Consult with other organisations and agencies that have already dealt with teenagers to discover how they accomplished it and for any advise they may have. Collaborating with other youth-serving organisations may help you avoid the implementation issues that others have encountered.
Make a plan for how you’ll recruit young people and keep them engaged throughout the process. Consider how to recruit young people who are representative of the demographic you serve, what skills and talents they require, and what training they should receive.
Provide training to all organisation workers who will be working with youth to ensure that everyone understands why and why not to partner with youth, how it will benefit both the programme and the youth, and the skills required to effectively work alongside youth.
Ways to keep kids interested in a programme for the duration of it
Youth can participate in organisational decision-making frameworks and programme creation in a variety of ways. Adolescents should be included in initiatives from the start; here are some ideas on how and where they might help.
The GIS (geographic information system) effort of the United States Department of Agriculture is an example of a needs assessment, in which children identified resources in their communities. The documents were then posted to a community-wide map, which was used to notify community leaders of any gaps or issues. You may learn more about Youth Tracking by visiting this page.