Involve Young People

Why it Matters:

The benefits of involving young people

Involving young people in an organisation or in the community benefits everyone. Research shows improvements in skills, opportunities, knowledge, health and well-being for younger and older people. Plus better, more effective services (especially local government).
Benefits for younger people
  • Problem solving and decision making.
  • Creative and critical thinking.
  • Collaboration, communication and negotiation.
  • Researching and evaluating information.
  • Flexibility and adaptability.
  • Increases social networks.
  • Builds employment and career networks.
  • Increases aspirations.
  • Gives sense of purpose and value.
  • Contributes to ongoing community participation.
  • Improves engagement in learning and academic achievement.
  • Strengthens understanding of local history.
  • Increases knowledge of community issues and cultures.
  • Builds social awareness and responsibility.
  • Increases empathy and respect for older people’s experiences and achievements.
Health and wellbeing
  • Improves physical and mental health.
  • Gives a sense of belonging.
  • Builds resilience, optimism, positivity and enjoyment of life.
  • Increases access to trusted adults.
  • Diverts from violence, anti-social and risk-taking behaviour.

Benefits for older people
  • Improves social skills.
  • Improves ability to use new technologies.
  • Enhances parenting skills.
  • Chances to keep learning.
  • Respect and recognition from others in community.
  • Builds new friendships and social networks.
  • Passes on traditions and knowledge.
  • Chance to have fun!
  • Learn about young people.
  • Discover different ideas and cultures.
  • Understand new technologies.
  • Keep up to date with current trends.
Health and wellbeing
  • Improves mood and boosts energy.
  • Better physical and mental health.
  • Increases sense of worth and self-esteem.
  • Increases optimism, positivity and enjoyment of life.

Benefits for communities
  • Builds mutual respect, understanding and social cohesion.
  • Develops local culture and community history.
  • Takes pressures off schools and parents.
  • Encourages civic pride, responsibility and attachment to local area.
  • Maintains and revitalises community facilities and public infrastructure.
  • Reduces crime and anti-social behaviour.
  • Improves community health.
  • Increases care for local environment.
  • Encourages local volunteering.

Benefits for local services (especially local government)
  • Improves service commissioning and design.
  • Informs better planning and decision making.
  • Increases use of services by young people.
  • Increases efficacy of services.
  • Improves customer service to whole community.
What you can do now

Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) (2012), A national plan for child and youth wellbeing, A review of the literature, November 2012, ARACY.

Boese, M. (2010), From participation to leadership. Evaluation of the  Community Service Leadership Program, Melbourne: Brotherhood of St Laurence.

Broadbent, R. and Papadopoulos, T. (2010), ‘Government, Schools, Young People and Communities in Partnership’, Youth Studies Australia, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 52-60.

CISCO (2008), Equipping Every Learner for the 21st Century: A White Paper, CISCO.

du Plessis, K. and Corney, T. (2011), ‘Trust, respect and friendship: The key attributes of significant others in the lives of young working men’, Youth Studies Australia Youth Studies Australia, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 17-26.

Easthope, G. and White, R. (2008), ‘Health and wellbeing: how do young people see these concepts?’, Youth Studies Australia, vol. 25, no.1, pp. 42 – 49.

MacCallum, J., Palmer, D., Wright, P., Cumming-Potvin, W., Northcote, J., Brooker, M., Tero, C. (2006),Community building through intergenerational exchange programs, Report to NYARS (National Youth Affairs Research Scheme), Canberra: Australian Government Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCSIA).

Nabben, R. and Hill, R. (2004) Engaging with Young People, Local Government in Action, Melbourne: Municipal Association of Victoria.

Sullivan, T. K. (2011), Youth Engagement: More than a method. A way of life for healthy youth and community development.  A white paper written for the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development , Minnesota: University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development.

Wyn, J. (2009), ‘The changing context of Australian youth and its implications for social inclusion’, Youth Studies Australia, vol. 28, no.1, pp. 46 – 50; March 2009.

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