Youth can provide a fresh and modern perspective. With our world becoming increasingly more technologically advanced, our youth are the go-to experts! Young people, especially millennials and “Gen-Zers”, grew up with technology at their fingertips. With their expertise in current technology and their access to modern communications, they can bring forth fresh ideas that are appropriate for our growing society which can therefore help organizations immensely.
Youth can be long-term contributors. Many young people who start participating in community building initiatives often stay for the long haul. If they enjoy what they’re doing, they often find passion in the programs and become adept in the ins and outs of the organization. They may stay long-term and can contribute to more long-term efforts in the community.
Young people can also increase the credibility of an organization and provide data that could only be provided by the youth. For programs centered around the younger population, having youth on the team would allow for better understanding and communication about the needs of younger people and how to address particular issues and situations surrounding them. Furthermore, organizations that have youth programs often represent a modern and creative brand that is willing to take on new ideas and focusses on the betterment of the youth.
How do we encourage youth participation in community development? Connect and form relationships with youth through mentorship and guidance. Young people are eager to gain role models and try to gain connections with adults that listen to and use their input. Furthermore, communicate the benefits of youth participation in community development in skills such as self-esteem, discipline, time management, career insight and experience, and the opportunity to make real change. Another benefit for the youth is to build meaningful connections with other youth. Making friends and building friendships is often an anxiety-inducing activity for many young people, but initiatives in community building can bring a sense of belongingness and positive mental health as they would be working towards a good cause together.
As more young people are entering the workforce, consider bringing more youth onto the team for the enhancement of your organization, and the ultimate benefit of bettering the community!