1. Welcome youth as co-creators.
Acknowledge their capabilities as critical thinkers and doers. Engaging them once is not enough, but actively engaging them as problem solvers throughout the duration of your project will provide added value.
2. Seek trailblazing ideas.
Adults put forward tired, mediocre solutions as they revert back to their existing knowledge about the world. Youth, on the other hand, are not hindered by the baggage of being a grown up and are not afraid to explore more imaginative solutions.
3. Treat youth as experts.
They aren’t who you think (or what the media say) they are. Create space for them at the table and take notes as their unique perspectives will advance your project.
4. Invest in youth early on.
Initiate the conversation right from the start to avoid paying for your mistakes later on. Your project is doomed to fail unless it meets their real needs, so stop making assumptions and start listening.
5. Be creative and intentional.
If you see youth engagement as a chore, they will too. Find fun ways for them to take part in your project and make the experience a meaningful one.
6. Meet youth where they are.
Expecting them to come to you is a pipe dream. You’ll have better luck finding them at school, in community centres, shopping malls, and other places where they congregate.
7. Build up champions.
Engaging youth early on and regularly increases their sense of ownership over the project. Partner with them, maintain open communication, and provide them with resources so they can become champions and ambassadors of your project.
8. Shape a future that youth desire.
Leverage their hyper-awareness and progressive values on social and environmental issues. Become their ally so that, together, you can create intergenerational spaces that you’re proud of.
Learn more about our approach to bridging the gap between youth and decision-makers on our website.