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The Youth Engagement Frontier

VIEWS: 8 PAGES: 37

									Exploring the Youth
Engagement Frontier
Theresa K. Sullivan, Howland Chair,
University of Minnesota Extension
Center for Youth Development
Exploring the Youth Engagement Frontier

Integrate the work of research and practice pioneers to:

   Map the territory

   Identify desirable destinations

   Figure out how to get there from here
The process
   The youth engagement landscape as painted in the academic and
    practice-based literature
     How do they define youth engagement?
     What do they identify as goals?
     What do they consider best practices to achieve those goals?
     What do they say is needed to better achieve goals?

   The landscape of youth engagement from practitioners’ perspectives
       How do you define youth engagement?
       What do you identify as goals?
       What do you consider as best practices to achieve those goals?
       What do you to better achieve your goals?
Next steps
Based on what we’re learning around the state:
   Target next phase of literature review, re: best practices,
    tips and “how to”s
   Observe best practices (people and programs)
   Develop examples of quality youth engagement in action
   A second round of Regional Forums in April
   Provide input into plans for a statewide youth
    engagement initiative
Today’s Agenda
   Definitions of Youth Engagement
     Inthe literature
     Among participants today
     Around the state

   Critical elements of quality youth engagement
     From  around the state
     In the literature
     From youth

   What do you need to make it happen?
          Youth Engagement
Means Different Things to Different People

                    To engage is to:
                     Connect   to
                      people, places,
                      ideas
                     Participate in an
                      activity
 Absorb/engross,
 consume all of one’s
 attention
 Attract/hold
 someone’s attention
 Enlist

 someone’s
 services
 Take   on
 something
YE: End in itself? Or means to an end?
    Youth
PARTICIPATE
 in activities




    Youth
 CONNECT
  to people,
places, ideas
YE: End in itself? Or means to an end?

    Youth
                              YOUTH
PARTICIPATE
                            Development
 in activities               Outcomes




    Youth
 CONNECT
  to people,
places, ideas
YE: End in itself? Or means to an end?

    Youth         Absorb or
PARTICIPATE                       YOUTH
                  ENGROSS       Development
 in activities
                    youth        Outcomes




    Youth
 CONNECT           Attract or
  to people,     HOLD youth’s
places, ideas      attention
YE: End in itself? Or means to an end?

    Youth         Absorb or     ENLIST youth
PARTICIPATE
                  ENGROSS          to help
 in activities                                   YOUTH
                    youth
                                               Development
                                                Outcomes


                                               COMMUNITY
    Youth                                      Development
                   Attract or      Youth        Outcomes
 CONNECT
  to people,     HOLD youth’s    TAKE ON
places, ideas      attention     something
YE: End in itself? Or means to an end?

    Youth         Absorb or     ENLIST youth
PARTICIPATE
                  ENGROSS          to help
 in activities
                    youth                        YOUTH
                                               Development
                                                Outcomes


                                               COMMUNITY
    Youth                                      Development
 CONNECT           Attract or      Youth
                                                Outcomes
  to people,     HOLD youth’s    TAKE ON
places, ideas      attention     something
How do YOU Define Youth Engagement?
    “Connect/Participate”           “Attract/Engross/Hold”
      Program ID ________              Program ID ________
     Descriptive of current YE?       Descriptive of current YE?
            D C B A                          D C B A
   Importance of this type of YE?   Importance of this type of YE?
             1 2 3 4                          1 2 3 4



            “Enlist”                        “Take on”
      Program ID ________              Program ID ________
     Descriptive of current YE?       Descriptive of current YE?
            D C B A                          D C B A
   Importance of this type of YE?   Importance of this type of YE?
             1 2 3 4                         1 2 3 4
                  4

How
                  3
important is it
to do this kind
                  2
of youth
engagement?       1




                              D       C     B       A


                      To what degree does this definition of youth
                      engagement describe the kind of youth engagement
                      currently happening in your program, organization or
                      intiative?
                            Connect/Participate - ALL FORUMS                                                                                    Attract/Engross/Hold - ALL FORUMS

               5                                                                                                            5

               4                 5               10                    33                       64                          4                         3                     19                 44               30




                                                                                                              Importance
Importance




               3                                1                  9                    1                                   3                         1                     14                10            2

               2                                2                  2                                                        2                                           2                 2                 1

               1                                                                                                            1                         1

               0                                                                                                            0
                    0        1              2                  3                    4                 5                                 0         1                 2                 3                 4                5

                                           Current Reality                                                                                                         Current Reality




                                         Enlist - ALL FORUMS                                                                                              Take On - ALL FORUMS

                    5                                                                                                                   5

                    4                3                    15                   30                    27                                 4                     10                 16                22               22

                                                                                                                           Importance
       Importance




                    3                2                    12                   17                3                                      3                     8                  21                12           3

                    2                6                3                    3                                                            2                     8              3                2

                    1                7                                                           1                                      1                 2

                    0                                                                                                                   0
                        0        1              2                      3                    4             5                                 0         1                 2                 3                 4                5

                                                Current Reality                                                                                                      Current Reality
YE Happens Through Many Activities
   Individual activities (meditation/prayer, art,
    music, sports, reading, political action)

   Informal connection (with peers, families
    neighbors, teachers, pastors, coaches, youth
    workers)
     Talking, hanging out
     Pickup sports
     Jammin’, slammin’
     Helping others
     Participating in informal social events (picnics, bike
      parades, “game day,” fire hydrant openings)
YE Happens Through Many Activities
   Organized group activities
     Academic    classes, after school activities
     Sports teams, clubs, choirs, bands
     Community service
     Arts events (concerts, poetry slams, art exhibitions)
     Youth media
     Youth research
     Organizational boards
     Philanthropy
     Collective action, problem solving
     Political advocacy
YE Happens in Many Places
   Homes

   Organizations
     Schools
     Community-based organizations
     Places of worship
     Government programs
     Media organizations
     Political parties
     Business programs

   Community
       Neighborhood
       City, county, state
       Community of affinity
       National, global community
       Virtual communities
YE Happens in Varying Doses

 How    often (e.g. once a week)

 For   how long (e.g. 3 hour session)

 Over   what period of time (e.g. for the
 summer)
YE Happens With Varying Levels of Youth
Initiative/Autonomy

                        Youth initiate,
                        make decisions

                 Youth initiate, adult input

                    Youth initiate,
                shared decision-making

         Adults initiate, shared decision-making


      Adults initiate, youth have input into decisions


             Adults initiate, make decisions
YE Happens to Achieve Many Things
   Youth Development Outcomes
       Pscho-social knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors
       Academic knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors
       Civic knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors
       Leadership knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors
   Organizational Outcomes
       Enrollment, retention
       Enhanced absorption
       Quality opportunities for youth input, decision making, initiation
       Positive relationships
       Diversity in all of the above
   Community Outcomes
       Changing the landscape/ building the field – Creating more high quality
        opportunities for all types of youth engagement in all domains (connection,
        participation, absorption, “taking on”)
       Social justice
       Bonding/bridging social capital
       Clean environmental health
       Thriving democracy
       Thriving economy
Community


                                                    Community
 School
                                                      Orgs

                                                      Youth
 Individuals



 Orgs
                                          Take on

                                 Enlist

  Govm’t          Absorb, hold


     Connect/participate
Community

                                                   Community
School
                                                     Orgs

                                                     Youth
 Individuals




                                         Take on
 Orgs
                                Enlist


Govm’t           Absorb, hold


     Connect/participate
               CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE
                   (Building the Field)
Elements of Quality Youth Engagement
   Safety
     Physicalsafety
     Emotional safety (openness, respectful
      environment, trust, equality)
Elements of Quality Youth Engagement
   Variety of opportunities
     Choices  related to content, depth/mode of
      participation
     Appealing to different age groups (new
      challenges available as they develop)
     Relevant to youth interests and talents
     Opportunities for creative expression
Elements of Quality Youth Engagement
   Quality programs
     Authentic, real-life, hands-on learning
     Clear purpose, intentionality
     Balance consistency and flexibility
     Learn, demonstrate specific skills
     Learning through action/reflection
     Sense of belonging, acceptance
     Cultivate personal passion, strengths, meaning
     Continuous program evaluation/improvement
Elements of Quality Youth Engagement
   Accessible for all
     Awareness    via marketing, public relations
     Money not a barrier
     Transportation not a barrier
     Childcare not a barrier
     Timeframe is compatible for youth
     Flexible timing, locations
Elements of Quality Youth Engagement
   Committed, passionate youth and adults
     Adults see youth engagement as a priority
     Youth know what’s in it for them and step up to
      the plate
     They keep coming back
Elements of Quality Youth Engagement
   Mutual ownership
     Shared  sense of purpose
     Issues, activities are relevant to both


   Shared leadership
     Recognize,   realize youth power
        Youth input, involvement in decisions
        Youth led, adult guided/supported
Elements of Quality Youth Engagement
   Positive youth/adult relationships
     Supportive,  caring adults
     Mutual trust and respect
     Listening to each other, good communication
     Democratic processes
Elements of Quality Youth Engagement
   Build youth and adult capacities
     Facilitation of collaborative processes
     Active listening
     Allowing, supporting, guiding youth to lead
     Balancing freedom and structure
     Education about target issues and root
      causes
     Community organizing
     Political advocacy
Elements of Quality Youth Engagement
   Community support
     Support   from parents, schools, businesses,
      government,
     Collaboration across the community (to fully
      meet individual needs, avoid duplication,
      identify and fill gaps)
Elements of Quality Youth Engagement
   Achievable goals, sense of
    accomplishment
     End product
     Learned concept
     Sense of mastery
Elements of Quality Youth Engagement
   Recognition/celebration
     Mutual  appreciation (formal and informal)
     Celebration
     Incentives
Elements of Quality Youth Engagement

   Overlap with Positive Youth Development practices
       Personal safety
       Strength-based approach
       Interesting, relevant activities
       Meaningful roles, opportunities for youth voice and leadership
       Positive youth/adult and peer relationships
       High expectations, clear boundaries and consequences
       Opportunities to build competency, efficacy
       Opportunities for reflection, expression
       Opportunities to belong
What do you need to
 make it happen?

								
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