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 Youth are Changing the World through Planning
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.
Things Youth Need to Change the World through Planning
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.
- “Youth Engagement Necessary to Achieve Sustainable Urban Development” by Hung Vo for Huffington Green
- “Youth planners job description” by the City of Hampton, Virginia
- “Youth engagement in planning” by Ramona Mullahey for the American Planning Association
- “Youth planners at work” is a 1944 article by Theodore D. Rice for ASCD
- “Youth in Planning” by the Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association
- “The Potential of Youth Participation in Planning” by Kathryn I. Frank for the Journal of Planning Literature
- Youth Planning Charrettes: A Manual for Planners, Teachers, and Youth Advocates by Bruce Race
- “Involving youth in planning: The progressive challenge” by Ann Forsyth for Progressive Planning Magazine
- Youth and Schools Participation in Planning Resource Collection by the Cities and Schools Project at the University of California Berkeley
- Youth Participation in Community Planning by Ramona Mullahey, Yve Susskind and Barry Checkoway for the American Planning Association
- “Youth with Influence: The Youth Planner Initiative in Hampton, Virginia” for The Democracy and Governance Network
- “Youth Planners Workshop – Rise Park, Havering“
- Louisiana Children & Youth Planning Board (Act 555): Planning Tools and Resources by John A. Tuell and Janet K. Wiig for Models for Change
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 planning in your community or organization, contact us.