Planning how your agency will implement youth engagement is an important step in making sure you put your best foot forward. Co-creating plans reflect a shared purpose, joint decision-making, a commitment to action and collective accountability.
- Build on the strengths, skills and interests of young people.
- Include roles for youth and opportunities for youth to lead and design initiatives.
- Create opportunities for youth and adults to work together. In a study of fifteen American organizations 1 noted that the shift towards youth engagement happens slowly through repetition and experiential learning. When adults participate meaningfully with youth and see the value of their contributions in terms of process and outcomes, they feel more confident and they create further opportunities for engagement.
- Set clear objectives and SMARTER goals 2: Specific, Measurable, Realistic, Time-bound, Evaluate and Re-do.
- Work towards sustainability. Among other factors, co-created plans should consider ongoing recruitment and skills development, documenting lessons learned, and using feedback from youth to enhance organizational conditions for engaging youth.
- Outline a clear communication and knowledge mobilization plan. Develop a plan that keeps young people, staff, and community partners in the loop. For more on how to share your learning, consult the Knowledge Mobilization toolkit: Doing more with what you know.