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Benefits of Involving Youth in Decision-Making

Youth Community Individual

Recognizing and involving youth in a community’s decision-making processes is about more than engaging young people for the sake of inclusivity. It’s about recognizing the measurable benefits youth offer to organizations and whole communities.

Youth need meaning, control and connectedness to thrive in an adult-youth partnership. Youth must feel like they are involved in something important, have a valued say in what happens and the opportunity to work with other youth and adults in the community.

How adults benefit from involving youth in decision-making:

  • Adults begin to see youth as contributors, and stereotypes are broken down.

  • Adult levels of commitment, attachment and energy for an organization often increase when they gain an opportunity to work with youth.

  • Adults gain a better understanding of young people; a fresh perspective; a bridge to other youth; enthusiasm, creativity, flexibility and pro-activeness.

How organizations and communities benefit from involving youth in decision-making:

  • Involving youth is a human rights issue! Involving young people fulfills the right to be involved in decision-making and recognizes full citizenship.

  • Engaging youth encourages young people to become active community members who will be more likely to vote and be engaged in the democratic process.

  • Young people are given the opportunity to assume leadership roles and gain skills and practical experience leading to more effective decision-making in the future.

  • Granting youth control over decisions affecting their lives builds capacity in young people to take ownership for their lives and their communities.

Adapted from the Youth Friendly Guide to Intergenerational Decision Making by Apathy is Boring and the Youth Environmental Project, 2004