There are lots of different ways you can engage and involve young people in organisations and communities. These don’t have to be limited to formal, structured processes. In fact, less formal approaches are sometimes better. Creating a range of different opportunities will help build relationships with young people and make them feel they can contribute.
Formal ways to involve young people include recruiting them as members of advisory boards and committees. These are good ways to include young people in decision-making processes, but it’s important to remember that formal structures are only not the only option.
Informal, less structured approaches can often be a better way to begin involving young people. For example, activities or programs that are based around interests or hobbies, learning skills or simply having fun. Think arts and music, sports and games, and useful talents like gardening and cooking.
Different young people will want to become involved in different ways, so it’s important to have a range of opportunities available.
“We can have young people who are engaged with us but don’t really participate, but we can also have young people who participate but who aren’t really engaged with the overall vision of the organisation” – Jonathon, SYN
The best projects and programs that involve young people are ones that:
Whether you’re offering informal or formal opportunities, they should:
Other things to consider will be:
Here are some quick examples of some different ways to involve young people:
Consulting with young people involves gathering information from individuals or groups about their opinions or experiences.…