The Freechild Project Youth Engagement Guide

The Future of Youth Engagement

Society evolves. Young people evolve, too. Ergo, youth engagement must evolve.

As young people and communities grow, there are more opportunities for youth engagement than ever before – and more opportunities for youth to become disengaged, too.

More sophisticated usages of technology, transformed processes, and varying thresholds for what engages young people have to be acknowledged all the time. This happens from generation to generation and across different communities for all kinds of reasons.

Youth engagement happens, no matter what. Adults may not like what it focuses on or how it happens, but it happens.

Here are three ways that youth engagement will happen in the future:

  1. Subjective Relationships — If adults want to continue to expose them to specific issues and activities, or seek particular outcomes from youth engagement, it will be necessary for them to adapt and transform their approaches.
  2. Equal Relationships — Another way is for adults to decide to value the things that young people engage in on their own volition. These youth engagement approaches entail adults meeting young people where they are currently, rather than insist that children and youth come to where adults want them to be in the future.
  3. Equitable Relationships — The middle ground between these two approaches to youth engagement requires active evolution and transformation. It requires that adults learn to see young children and youth as equitable partners in their work, and to treat them accordingly.

 

Luckily, no matter which approach adults choose, youth engagement will continue to exist in the individual lives of young people, where they see fit and how they see fit. The sustained connections that young people make will never be solely dependent on technology, and youth engagement will never rely solely on government agencies either, or nonprofits, faith communities, schools, or other specific spheres and systems explored above.

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Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support youth engagement in your community or organization, contact us.

 

The Practice of Youth Engagement by Adam Fletcher!
The Practice of Youth Engagement by Adam Fletcher!

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