Youth Engagement as Activity Leaders

The Freechild Institute Youth Involvement Toolkit

Engaging youth as activity leaders in nonprofits, community organizations, and other areas includes young people facilitating, teaching, guiding, directing, and otherwise leading youth, adults, and children in a variety of ways.

Youth Can Be the Leaders of Tomorrow - If We Procrastinate.

How Youth Engagement as Activity Leaders Happens

Youth as Cultural Facilitators — Young people can do more than simply learn about culture. Instead, youth + social change can happen with youth as essential leaders, drivers and motivators of culture, heritage and history. A few activities they can lead include teaching native languages, being hired as historical tour guides, or facilitating workshops on youth culture.

Youth-Led Afterschool Spaces — Everyday, millions of children and youth are challenged to find meaningful, substantive activities in their out-of-school time. Whether through homework assistance, tutoring, community enrichment, or other activities, youth + social change can happen when young people drive and direct their own after school spaces.

Service Learning Programs — Learning through service can build youth + social change in powerful, positive, practical ways. Youth + social change can happen through identifying their genuine interests, building their skills and abilities to affect change, positioning youth as planners and researchers, and supporting them facilitating social change.

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." - Albert Einstein

Needs for Youth Engagement as Activity Leaders

Training — Supporting youth + social change through deliberate skill-building and knowledge-sharing activities can help increase motivation, determination, impact and sustainability. Afterschool activities need increased capacities among everyone involved – youth too! 

Inspiration — It’s not enough to simply throw youth into afterschool activities and expect they will get engaged. Helping them identify their authentic interests can lead to inspiration, as well as meaningfully connecting with other youth and adult allies within and throughout their lives. Inspiration happens a lot of different ways.

Evaluation — Encouraging, allowing and empowering youth through constant reflection is essential to successful youth + social change. However, engaging young people in significant evaluation activities is key to sustaining social change. Youth can be fully engaged and lead efforts focused on quantitative and qualitative assessments, data aggregation, and critical perspectives.

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Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how Freechild Institute can support youth + social change in leading activities in your community or organization, contact us.

How to Start Engaging Children and Youth by Adam Fletcher at
Learn how to start engaging children and youth!

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