Sequence for Disengaging Youth Voice

The sequence of disengaging Youth Voice:
  1. Youth aren’t prepared to engage with adults.
  2. Adults aren’t prepared to engage with young people.
  3. Youth are limited to working only on issues affecting youth.
  4. Adding Youth Voice is an afterthought to planning, occurring only the day of the meeting, rather than as a course of action with framing and reflecting activities.
  5. The meeting was not announced in enough time to allow young people participants to prepare.
  6. Meeting times conflict with previously planned activities, limiting the participation of more young people.
  7. Youth are not told about expectations for their involvement.
  8. Young people did not receive training on committee participation or the issues addressed by the organization.
  9. There is inequitable representation between young people and adults.
  10. Youth have no structured reflection to focus on their experience of being involved in the committee.
  11. Adults are armed with good intentions instead of experience-driven practice.
  12. Adults don’t have knowledge of or access to materials to help them develop their committee.
  13. The nature of the activity has limited appeal to historically non-involved youth.
  14. Participation is seen as separate and unrelated from classes or youth programs, despite the opportunities for applied learning in communication, leadership, and social awareness.
  15. Youth Voice opportunities are seen as separate and unrelated from youth service activities, despite the connections between serving on the committee and community service.
  16. Adults make no overt concessions designed to engage young people in activities.
  17. Adults rely on young people to answer questions like, “What do you think?” in the same way another adult would.
  18. Lacking opportunities to reflect on their participation, youth complain to other youth about the experience, further disinteresting other youth from becoming involved.
  19. Adults’ perceptions of young people and their involvement further alienate diverse Youth Voice.
Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *