Successfully Involve Youth in Decision-Making

All Volume 3 Issue 1Successfully Involve Youth in Decision-Making


  1. Know why you want to include young people
  2. Assess your readiness:
  • Conduct an organisational assessment. How can youth be successfully integrated into your governance structure?
  • Assemble a board committee to research and help prepare for youth involvement.

3. Determine your model for youth involvement. Either involve young people directly in an existing adult governing body or create an all youth or youth run adjunct body.

4. Identify Organisational barriers. Are you prepared to have in your bi-laws that a certain number of members must be young people? If you are creating a youth advisory group, is it a permanent structure.

5. Overcome attitudinal barriers:

  • Adults must overcome their stereotypes

6. Address legal issues

7. Recruit young people:

  • Be clear about what you want
  • Choose motivated and committed youth
  • Add two or more young people. Adding more than one young person to an adult governing body offers more support to youth in governance positions. It is important that they do not feel isolated.

8. Create a strong orientation process:

  • Provide adequate orientation.
  • Help parents or guardians feel comfortable with your organisation as they play an important role in the success of young board members.

9. Train young people for their roles:

  • Provide skills training that covers reading budgets, working on committees and other governance related knowledge.

10. Conduct inter-generational training:

  • Once young people are in decision making positions you will need to continue training the whole group. The focus should be to bridge the gap between adults and young people so that they can work more effectively together.

11. Make meetings work:

  • Your meeting times may conflict with young people’s schedules. They have far less control over their time than most adults do.
  • Introduce interactive agendas. Include small group time where everyone has a chance to speak. Go around the group and ask everyone to give feedback. When reviewing a budget, do it in pairs.

12. Develop a mentoring plan mentors, whether they are an experienced adult or young person, provide critical support to young people by helping them lean new terms, understand organisational culture and build confidence to act as full partners in the group.

13. Build youth-adult relationships. Strong relationships are key to all successful programs and social change movements. It is a solid network of committed people that create social change.

14. Create Support Networks. By networking with other youth leaders, young people see that they are not alone in their work and that other youth care about the same issues.

Taken from 14 Points: Successfully Involving Youth in Decision Making Published by Youth On Boards



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