Resource Documents

This page is a collection of articles, guides, toolkits and best practices on youth engagement. It also includes some of the tool and activities that we have found useful in our work.

This section is still in development, please feel free to browse around and send us any information you think we should add.
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A framework for Community Youth Development

Youth Engagement Theory
Community Youth Development (CYD) is the process of young people being engaged in meaningful participation through planning, decision-making, and program delivery in our governments, organizations, institutions, and communities. While encouraging the gifts and talents of individual young people, CYD places equal focus on the investment of these assets in the community. Individual youth and adults, organizations, and communities all benefit when youth are engaged as full and active participants. Heartwood’s Framework for Community Youth Development supports the engagement of young people in community building by identifying core values, program tools, and community resources.
Heartwood Centre for Community Youth Development

Influence through participation: A critical review of structures for youth engagement

Youth Engagement Theory
In June 2007, the Centre for Social Action and The National Youth Agency (NYA) were commissioned by the IDeA and beacon authorities to review the positive youth engagement structures of the local authorities who received beacon status with the aim of enabling them to further develop and share good practice with each other and more widely. The Centre staff worked in partnership with the NYA, particularly with their trainers, who are themselves young people, to carry out the review in all eight beacon authorities. The purpose was to critically review current practices and models of positive youth engagement, to identify useful learning about the use of existing structures in the context of frameworks such as the Hear by Right standards and to identify what has changed as a result of young people being listened to within these structures.

This review has drawn out that there is much to celebrate in the work of young people who are taking their place at the centre of local democracy and ensuring that their voices are being heard and that much decision-making that affects them is informed by their opinions, wishes and aspirations.
Alison Skinner and Jennie Fleming

Youth Engagement: A Celebration Across Time and Culture- Framing the Issue

Youth Engagement Theory
This document traces various youth engagement frameworks, including: Youth Service, Youth Leadership, Youth in Decision-Making, Youth Philanthropy, Youth Civic and Political Engagement,Youth Organizing, Youth Media, and Youth Research and Evaluation.
W.K. Kellog Foundation

The Potential of Youth Participation in Planning

Youth Engagement Theory
The field of planning is increasingly recognizing youth as an important stakeholder group, and there are calls to directly involved youth in planning processes. Because youth are in many respects different from adults, the practice of youth participation needs special consideration. This article summarizes the findings from empirical studies of youth participation in terms of the impacts on the young participants and their communities, the capacity of youth to participate, and five lessons for effective practice. The literature review will help planners create meaningful opportunities for youth to have a voice in community and environmental affairs.
Kathryn I. Frank


Youth Engagement Theory
Community youth development is a powerful, transformative public idea that is challenging to put into practice. It means changing entrenched attitudes, behaviour patterns and cultural norms.
Supportive adults, young people, and community associations often ask: How do we build the quality relationships that are the foundation for youth inclusion? What roles should we each take? How do we make the process fun, rewarding and sustainable? How can communities and youth work together to effect change?

Who best to provide answers to these questions than a diversity of youth and adults who are currently working in partnership to improve their communities. Their successes and struggles convey practical insights and helpful examples. This article is based on qualitative interview research with participants from youth action teams in 12 communities across Nova Scotia.This article relates valuable lessons from these passionate change-makers for the benefit of youth and adults working together to build community in other contexts.
Camille Dumond, Dr. Alan Warner, Marc Langlois, and the Heartwood Institute

Positive Youth Development Resource Manual

Youth Engagement Theory
The purpose of this manual is to provide user-friendly resources and tools to community members and professionals who want to promote positive youth development in their communities. The materials can be used to educate community groups and service providers about positive youth development with the ultimate goal of facilitating organizational and community change. The manual includes training activities, handouts, brief power point presentations and references to other resources.

Youth Participation in Community Planning: What are the Benefits?

Youth Engagement Theory
This essay identifies various forms of youth participation; describes some of its benefits; and relates these to planning practice, research, and education. It draws upon extensive work in the field, including a national study of innovative program planning for community-based youth programs (Checkoway and Finn 1992). It is based on a belief that young people are community resources, that planners have a role in promoting their participation, and that new knowledge of the benefits of youth participation can help increase young people’s involvement in the planning process.
Barry Checkoway, Kameshwari Pothukuchi and Janet Finn

Youth Participation in Photovoice as a Strategy for Community Change

Youth Engagement Strategies
Photovoice is a participatory action research strategy which can contribute to youth mobilization for community change. The strategy can enable youth to (1) record and vivify their community’s strengths and concerns; (2) promote critical dialogue and knowledge about community issues through group discussion of photographs; and (3) reach policy makers. Following a description of the photovoice methodology, this article briefly highlights ten projects in which youth used photovoice to represent, advocate, and enhance community health and well-being.
Caroline C. Wang

Co-Management- A Practical Guide: Seeking Excellence in Youth Participation at a Local Level

Youth Engagement Strategies
This toolkit promotes and encourages young people and elders to work together and co-manage more of society's institutions and projects. By doing so, not only to they improve the running and creativity of those institutions, they bridge the perceived 'generational gap'- and affirm the often repeated but rarely acted upon, truth that young people are citizens of today not just of tomorrow.
Peace Child International, United Games International, United Games Hungary, YAKA International and Young Voices Slovenia

Youthscape Guidebook--Changing the Landscape: Involving Youth in Social Change

Youth Project Tools
Through case studies, stories, activities, real life lessons and practical recommendations, this Guidebook offers insights and tools to bring youth engagement to life in organizations and communities.

Five steps to change the landscape include:

Michele Cook, Natasha Blanchet-Cohen, Elaina Mack

Engaging Youth in Community Climate Action

Youth Engagement Strategies
This guide has been put together as a primer for local government staff on engaging youth in climate action- detailed resources and additional information can be found at the end of this document. By making a commitment to engage youth in governance activities, we can help build support for decisions, planning processes and services.
Prepared by the CRD Climate Action Program and the BC Ministry of the Environment's Youth Climate Leadership Alliance

Children's Participation: From Tokenism to Citizenship

Youth Engagement Theory
A nation is democratic to the extent that its citizens are involved, particularly at the community level. The confidence and competence to be involved must be gradually acquired through practice. It is for this reason that there should be gradually increasing opportunities for children to participate in any aspiring democracy, and particularly in those nations already convinced that they are democratic. With the growth of children’s rights we are beginning to see an increasing recognition of children’s abilities to speak for themselves. Regrettably, while children’s and youths’ participation does occur in different degrees around the world, it is often exploitative or frivolous. This Essay is designed to stimulate a dialogue on this important topic.
Roger Hart

Stepping Back from ‘The Ladder’: Reflections on a Model of Participatory Work with Children

Youth Engagement Theory
An update and reflection on Hart's Ladder of Participation, by Hart.
Roger Hart

From assets to agents of change: Social justice, organizing, and youth development

Youth Engagement Theory
This chapter addresses three fundamental questions regarding youth political engagement. What role can youth play in forging a democratic society and creating more equitable institutions? How can adults support sociopolitical development among youth? And what can be learned from youth organizing and its impact on the development of young people? In order to address these questions, we broaden the traditional individual focus of youth development by using a social ecology approach to provide a brief overview of the political, economic, and cultural context in which youth development and political participation occur.
Shawn Ginwright, Taj James

Play it Fair: Human Rights Education Toolkit for Children

Youth Project Tools
The Toolkit helps to promote human rights, nondiscrimination and peaceful conflict resolution within non-formal education programs for children, such as summer camps or after school activities.

The tool kit is intended for children aged 6-12 and camp leaders.
Daniel Roy, Annie Pettigrew, Vincenza Nazzari, Frédéric Hareau, Marie-Charles Boivin, and Laura Butler.

An Agenda for Youth Engagement

Youth Engagement Strategies
Government response to the recommendations of the
Youth Citizenship Commission (UK).


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