Many well-meaning adults who advocate for youth engagement too often consider only those elements of the younger population with which they are familiar. This is comfortable and convenient for adults, but it doesn’t fully address realities regarding young people today.
Identifying aspects of youth engagement as convenient or inconvenient doesn’t convey a value judgment; it simply acknowledges an existing condition.
Convenient Youth Engagement happens whenever adults know who is going to be engaged, what is going to happen, where and when it will happen, and what the outcomes will be. Adults might not have written the whole script for youth engagement, but what’s going to be said is no surprise to them.
Inconvenient Youth Engagement takes place when young people become engaged in ways that aren’t predictable. They share ideas, shout out thoughts, take action or critique harshly. They do things that adults don’t know, understand, approve of or otherwise predict.
The difference between these two situations depends on context, including location, position and circumstance. A young person’s race, socio-economic status, gender, educational attainment or other characteristics frequently determines how engagement is perceived. A particular instance of youth engagement may be heard or ignored, approved or disapproved, praised or penalized by older adults.
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Table of Contents
- Intro to Youth Voice
- Assumptions Behind Youth Voice
- Youth/Adult Partnerships Tip Sheet
- Honoring Youth Voice
- Creating Safe and Supportive Youth Voice Environments
- Who Is Youth Voice For?
- The Voices We Don’t Hear
- Voices of Youth in Crisis
- Where Does Youth Voice Happen?
- Recruiting Youth
- Systemizing Youth Voice
- Sustaining Youth Voice
- The End of Youth Voice
- Myths About Youth Voice
- The Youth Voice Movement
- Assessing Youth Voice
- Youth Voice Organizations
- Youth Voice Publications
- Youth Voice Tip Sheet
Freechild wants to train YOU, your organization, your community or your movement about Youth Voice! Contact us today to learn more »
- Youth/Adult Partnerships
- Youth and Adults
- Youth, Parents, Parenting and Families
- Facing Adultism by Adam Fletcher
Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can help improve adult perceptions of youth in your community or organization, contact us.
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