Youth Engagement Toolkit

Benefits of Youth Leadership

Getting Youth Input

Why Involve Youth? (from Wisconsin FACT)

  • Youth have energy and creativity that can take your program to a whole new level.
  • Involving young people fosters sustainability - young people who are involved today build skills and interest to lead tomorrow.
  • Youth are very influential and have the ability to educate and recruit peers, parents and community leaders.
  • Involving youth provides an opportunity to harbor their leadership skills that may influence their future choices.
  • Youth bring a refreshing perspective to the table.
  • There is not a single aspect of any program that your students will not have an idea to modify, improve or further develop. And since it's their program - let them!

Onto the How To:

Q: Where do you go to get youth input?

A: Where the youth are! This might require a little bit of branching out for the adult sponsor, but the best place to reach your students right now is online. Twitter, Facebook, Bebo, Flickr, Foursquare, myYearbook, Tumblr, ooVoo, Skype...the list goes on and on and will be outdated by the time you're reading it - this is where students are spending their free time.

Q. When is the best time to get input from the group?

A. If you're lucky enough to have a regularly scheduled meeting, take full advantage of it! If not, I hope you're allowed to work hours other than 8-5, Monday - Friday! While you will never get everyone at every single meeting, try to save important decisions (major projects, date setting, etc.) for when the majority of your group is present. You might have to resort to getting input via Survey Monkey, mass text message or the old fashioned way: email.

Q. What areas of your program should be open for youth input?