Meaningful Youth Engagement Resource Guide
What is Meaningful Youth Engagement?
Meaningful youth engagement (or authentic/positive youth engagement/development) is rooted in intentional, equitable, and intergenerational relationships. These relationships produce outcomes that benefit youth as well as programs, policies, organizations, and society as a whole. It is more than a specific program; it is a process where youth are active participants and youth voice, decision-making, and responsibility are sought out with intention.
Who is this guide for?
The following guide highlights key resources for adults who wish to, or already are, practicing meaningful youth engagement. While youth engagement is unique to each organization and community, we can follow a continuous practice of planning, implementation, evaluation & reflection, adaption and analysis. Meaningful youth engagement requires continuous reflection and evaluation with youth voices centered during the entire process.
How do I use this guide?
Consider what you’d like to learn about in your work with youth. Next, identify which area of our guide best aligns with your interests. Finally, read resource descriptions to understand which resources may be most helpful for you!
LEARN: Resources for information on the foundations of meaningful youth engagement as well as tools to learn from potential youth partners.
PLAN: Resources to help you plan steps to achieve your goals in engaging youth voice and power.
IMPLEMENT: Resources to help you be creative, be flexible in the implementation of your work with youth.
EVALUATE & REFLECT: Resources to create a space where youth can provide feedback and understand what works and what doesn’t.
ADAPT: Resources to increase youth power and ownership, or tools to think outside the box.
Research tools, sources, guides to understand the foundations of meaningful youth engagement, including resources for conducting Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analyses or listening sessions with potential youth partners.
A Framework for Effectively Partnering with Young People
Learn about the four components of authentic youth engagement, as well as the benefits of authentic youth engagement. Learn about resources for supporting youth-adult partnerships.
Listen Up! Youth Listening Session Toolkit
This toolkit and its accompanying workbook with 18 ready-to-use templates, forms, and sample documents is the culmination of the YLS Special Project and is informed by the lessons learned, insights gained, and successful approaches.
National Mentoring Resource Center: Youth Development Fact Sheets
This series of three Fact Sheets provides both mentoring programs and mentors with basic information about positive youth development principles and how to build them into mentoring settings and relationships.
Positive Youth Development 101 Manual
The Positive Youth Development 101 curriculum offers an orientation to the youth development approach for professionals new to the field of youth work. Use this free curriculum to provide professional development to new youth workers, supervisors and administrators, funders, and community volunteers.
You for Youth’s SWOT Analysis Worksheet
Y4Y learning experiences, tools and other resources come from afterschool experts, education researchers and people at real afterschool programs. Use their SWOT worksheet and check out other resources.
Resources to set intentional, realistic steps to achieve your goal, or to reflect on the core elements of meaningful youth engagement and determine next steps.
Youth Advocates for Community Health
Guidebook that includes activities and instruction for youth advocate work preplanning, choosing their “battle”, raising awareness, making an action plan, implementing plan and evaluation.
Less Telling, More Asking: Meaningful Youth Engagement at a Glance
This resource has been assembled to further support skill and capacity development as we and other adult allies in the community seek to meaningfully engage with youth.
Putting Positive Youth Development into Practice
Learn about the theory behind PYD, as well as practical advice for launching and running programs that support the positive development of young people
Six Tips for Increasing Meaningful Youth Engagement
Youth Power’s Community of practice brainstormed answers to the question: “What are the key components of youth engagement in programs?” Find their answers in these six tips.
Women Deliver’s Engage Youth Discussion Paper
Through a literature review, interviews, and a survey with 600 young people, gain a glimpse into the way young people themselves want to engage and be engaged. As well as how we can overcome common challenges preventing meaningful youth engagement
Resources to help you to be creative, be flexible and have fun.
Encouraging Teen Contribution
The question driving adolescence is “Who am I?” To ensure our teens lead rich adult lives we want the answer to be: “I am somebody who matters and makes a difference.” Knowing they can make meaningful contributions is one of the essential building blocks of resilience.
Unlocking the Magic of Facilitation
Have you ever been in a training and marveled at how quickly the time flew by? Genuinely enjoyed a meeting you were expecting to dread? Learn the magic of facilitation to help facilitate your work with youth in any form.
Cards that make it easy to plan, respond, & improvise.
Keep your facilitations fresh and participants engaged. 60 activities that are simple to implement and easy to reach for whether you’re planning or in a pinch.
Building Connections: The Gathering Toolkit
Explore a number of resources to spark inspiration, feed your curiosity, and nurture our gathering practice.
Evaluate & Reflect
Resources that help you create a space where youth can provide feedback and it is respected and received by adults. Tools to help you understand what works and what doesn’t.
Youth in Evaluation
The ‘Youth in Evaluation’ initiative urges the global evaluation community to commit to concrete action towards long-term, sustainable and meaningful engagement of youth and young and emerging evaluators in evaluation.
Planning, Monitoring, Evaluating, and Learning (PMEL) Toolkit
Whatever your needs, this toolkit will be able to help. Aimed specifically at young professionals this toolkit will help you address the steps you can take to develop a PMEL framework for your organization or program.
Youth.gov Involvement and Engagement Assessment Tool
To ensure that youth are actively engaged, programs should regularly assess youth involvement and engagement. This online assessment tool can assist organizations and community partnerships in determining how they involve youth in programs, whether youth are becoming more engaged in the community, and if certain strategies are helping to retain youth.
Salto-Youth’s Self-Reflection Tool for Youth Workers
This is a tool to help you to assess where you stand as a youth worker when it comes to facilitating learning with young people. It can assist you on your learning journey, and help you to define what are your relevant learning objectives when acting as a facilitator of learning with young people.
Resources to find ways to increase youth power and ownership, or tools to think outside the box.
Youth Leadership and Organizing
Advocates for Youth nurtures a pipeline of leaders who bring skill and determination to progressive movements. Access toolkits, trainings, and other resources.
Youth Leadership Institute
Youth Leadership Institute builds communities where young people and their adult allies come together to create positive community change that promotes social justice and racial equity.
YOU(TH) Do It!
YOU(TH) Do IT! is a resource hub by CHOICE for Youth & Sexuality. Learn how they integrate meaningful youth engagement into all of their programs and activities.
This toolkit is written to support Native youth, tribal communities, Two-Spirit and Native LGBTQIA+ collectives, community leaders, and partners who intend to better understand and support our Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ communities.
4-H Social Justice Youth Development Guide
This guide was designed to help youth development professionals understand how to integrate social justice principles into positive youth development programs.