Youth as Planners

The Freechild Institute Youth Involvement Toolkit

When planning programs, operations, activities, and other events and activities, youth can benefit nonprofits, schools, their homes, and any other institution throughout society. Engaging youth as planners can provide resources for youth, adults and others throughout the community. Planning is involved in everything we do. Either we plan our lives and our world, or we let someone else plan our lives and our world for us. The more opportunities young people have to see all the different ways planning happens, the more they can create the future they want for themselves and for the world.

Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning. ― Gloria Steinem

Ways to Engage Youth as Planners

Legislative Planning — Before city councils, county committees, state legislatures, provincial parliaments, and federal congresses commence their work on legislation, policies, laws, bills or rules, there are planning processes underway. In this planning, research, decision-making, authorization and other practices happen that can engage as planners youth whose in-depth contributions can alter entire nations.

Students as Curriculum Writers — Working with adult educators as partners, students can research, plan, writer, evaluate, critique, and otherwise plan classroom and / or program curriculum for themselves, their peers, younger students or adults. Their contributions can reflect sincere commitments to learning, teaching and leadership throughout education.

Youth Hiring Staff — Participating in hiring committees can provide young people with powerful experiences in sharing youth voice. The nonprofit and government staff who serve as program leaders, agency staff and other roles affecting young people can learn, grow and transform their practice.

Tools for Engaging Youth as Planners

Education — Learning the knowledge that’s required to be successful in planning can be enhanced with guidance, lessons, reading and other opportunities, either in classes or solo. The important part of education to build planning abilities is action, and reflection before, during and after.

Opportunities — Having viable, practical options to be engaged in planning can be essential to young people learning meaningful skills, especially for community building.

Internet — Finding information to make critical, informed and necessary decisions throughout life and the community requires access, and the Internet provides it.

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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 through youth planning in your community or organization, contact us.

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