Involve Young People

Why it Matters:

Why it makes sense to involve young people

Involving young people is good for society. Research shows it improves civic participation, health and well-being, social inclusion and economic prosperity. So involving young people is a good investment for everyone: communities, councils, businesses, young people – and you!
It’s good for your community
  • Involving young people in the community builds a culture of intergenerational cooperation, trust and respect – increasing community safety and civic pride.
  • Young people who are valued as active contributors to a community are more likely to serve their area or become local leaders.
  • Strong community ties can influence young people to remain in, or return to their local area – sustaining the community and contributing to the area’s long-term success.
  • Involving young people sets great standards for any community – it’s an essential part of an inclusive, democratic society!
It’s good for councils and community services
  • Young people are residents and citizens too, so it’s right for all local services to involve them.
  • It’s just good customer service for any organisation – which is everyone’s business, not just specialist ‘youth’ teams!
  • Involving young people helps councils and services fully understand their concerns and properly meet their needs.
  • Involving young people is a process for developing effective policies and programs that reduce social exclusion and disengagement across communities.
  • If it’s your job to work with young people, it’s simply good practice to involve young people:
    • in organisational decision making,
    • as active leaders, and
    • in program and activity planning, delivery and evaluation.
It’s good for business
  • Young people bring fresh ideas and different ways of thinking that can help businesses to innovate.  Research shows businesses pursuing innovation were more than twice as likely to improve their productivity than those that didn't.
  • By involving young people, you help them develop 21st century work skills, supporting them into employment. Which means you’re developing the talent to help local businesses and drive the Victorian economy!
  • Young people with good early experiences of the labour market are more likely to be working as adults. So offering young people opportunities now is an investment for the future.
  • Involving young people is essential for economic stability and growth. It saves taxpayers money from lost taxes and direct costs to support young people disengaged from education or work. The European Union found that supporting just another 20% of young people into the workforce would save more than €21 billion a year!
  • Employees of businesses who involve young people say they feel satisfied, inspired and energised – definitely the sort of experiences people want in their workplace! 
It’s good for young people
  • Involving young people helps them to learn new skills, develop their identity and express their ideas.
  • When young people have the opportunity to discuss issues affecting their lives – and come up with solutions – it builds their self-confidence confidence and initiative, and shows them the positive impact they can have on others.
  • Taking part in communities increases young people’s resilience – their ability to deal with life’s problems.  
  • Young people who feel valued and connected have improved mental health, in adolescence and as adults.
  • Connecting young people with their communities helps them build a sense ofgenerosityand social responsibility. It strengthens understanding of democracy and encourages more young people to get involved.
It’s good for you!
  • Meeting and talking with young people increases your own social networks. Research shows that wider social connections can make you feel better, improve your health and live longer!
  • Involving young people can open you to new experiences and make you more curious, which has been identified as helping you lead a more fulfilling life.
  • Studies show that making other people happy makes you happier. And being happier helps you lead a healthier life.
  • Plus, as people who already do it will tell you, involving young people can give you energy, ideas and keep you feeling young!
What you can do now

Aknin, L.B., Dunn, E.W., Sandstrom, G.M., and Norton, M.I. (2013), ‘Does social connection turn good deeds into good feelings? On the value of putting the 'social' in prosocial spending’, International Journal of Happiness and Development, Vol.1, No.2, pp.155 – 171.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (2013), Selected Characteristics of Australian Business, 2011-12, ABS.

Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (2008), The Wellbeing of Young Australians: Technical Report, Canberra: ARACY.

Bell, D.N.F. and  Blanchflower, D.G. (2011), Youth Unemployment in Europe and the United States, Discussion Paper No. 5673, Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

Brennan, M.A., Barnett, R.V., and McGrath, B. (2009), 'The intersection of youth and community development in Ireland and Florida: Building stronger communities through youth civic engagement', Community Development, 40, 331-345.

Burkeman, O. (2009), ‘This column will change your life’, The Guardian

Burns, J., Phillippa, C.,  Blanchard, M., De-Freitas, N., and Lloyd, S. (2008), Preventing youth disengagement and promoting engagement, ARACY.

Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) (2012), Worlds of Work 2012 Evaluation Report, Melbourne: FYA.

Fowler J.H. and Christakis, N.A. (2008), ‘Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study’, BMJ, 2008; 337:a2338.

Hill, L., McGuire, J., Parker, L., and Sage, R. (2009), 4-H healthy living literature review and recommendations for program planning and evaluation, USA: National 4-H Council.

Holt-Lunstad J., Smith T.B., Layton J.B. (2010)Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic ReviewPLoS Med 7(7).

Kellett, M. (2011), Engaging with Children and Young People, Centre for Children and Young People Background Briefing Series no.3., Lismore: Centre for Children and Young People, Southern Cross University.

Mellon, E. (2012), Youth Participation and Engagement Literature Review, internal research for City of Yarra.

OECD (2013), Off to a good start? Jobs for Youth, OECD.

UNICEF (2005), Children and Young People: Participating in Decision-Making, UNICEF.

Mourshed, M, Farrell, D. and Barton, D. (2013), Education to Employment Designing a system that works, US: McKinsey Center for Government.

International Youth Foundation (2012), Opportunity for Action: preparing youth for 21st century livelihoods, IYF.

Rimer, S. and Drexler, M. (2011), ‘Happiness & health’, Harvard School of Public Health.

Rocco L., and Suhrcke M. (2012), Is social capital good for health? A European perspective, Copenhagen: World Health Organisation.  

Seymour, K. (2012), Good Practice Principles for Youth Development Organisations, Queensland Youth Development Research Project Second Edition, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance, Griffith University.

Shaw, A., Brennan, M., Chaskin, R. and Dolan, P. (2012), Youth Civic Engagement in Non-Formal Education, IIEP Policy Forum Paris, 16–18 October 2012, Galway: UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre.

World Bank (2006), World Development Report 2007 - Development and the Next Generation, World Bank.

Zeldin, S., Christens, B.D., and Power, J.L. (2012), ‘The Psychology and Practice of Youth-Adult Partnership: Bridging Generations for Youth Development and Community Change’, American Journal of Community Psychology, DOI 10.1007/s10464-012-9558-y.

Tap the icon below to add to Add to Home Screen