Models of Youth Participation
What do we know about meaningful and relevant youth engagement?
Meaningful and relevant youth engagement is an inclusive, intentional and mutually respectful partnership between young people and adults whereby power is shared, contributions are valued and young peoples ideas, perspectives, skills and strengths are integrated into the design and delivery of programs, strategies, policies, funding mechanisms, and organisation’s that affect their lives and their communities. In other words youth engagement is an empowerment approach to practice, with a purpose to strengthen the continued involvement of young people in the work that we do.
Youth engagement is an art rather than a science, a process that happens over time. It is based on relationships and is best when it is tailored alongside young people. Engaging young people creates opportunities for strong community partnerships, it provides opportunities for young people to build confidence to participate and provides the opportunity to be involved in the solution. Together these things can build capacity and more cohesive environments within our organization’s and our communities. We must support young people to be successful representatives and provide meaningful and equitable opportunities for them to be involved.
Young people are best placed to support the sport sector in the work that directly affects them and their communities, they provide a range of experiences, thoughts, ideas, and perspectives that can enrich our organization’s decision making processes and provide a pathway to more relevant programming and outcomes for regional young people.