Assist states and localities in identifying models that promote multiple meaningful and successful paths for youth civic engagement and leadership.
Objective 1: Provide and encourage federal, state, local, and tribal provision of multiple opportunities for youth to develop, master, and apply critical skills, including life and leadership skills.
Youth-serving programs must be intentional about reaching out to youth – all youth – but the youth population is not monolithic. Engaging special people of childhood, youth at different ages or developmental stages, or children from other regions or environments may require different strategies and incentives. The level of rigorous evaluation
of youth engagement programs is still weak, five and youth engagement activities may need to vary in terms of their content, frequency, format, and intensity to reach young people at the level at which they are prepared to engage, and may need to adjust and deepen as a youth's skills are developed.
"Youth can be engaged in these efforts when they have opportunities to develop their leadership skills through comprehensive training, which can include communication skills, respect for diversity, life skills, goal setting, learning about finances, team building, and having opportunities to write and speak to the public and policymakers."
Youth may need extra support to sustain their involvement – other youth being involved with them, transportation, activities held after school hours, skill development opportunities, or other incentives and motivators. Organizations should also recognize youth aging out of their programs as valuable resources for encouraging engagement amongst younger peers.
As articulated in its definition of positive youth development (see Goal 1), the Working Group recognizes that all youth have assets and should be given opportunities to participate and develop their skills to become active and contributing members of society. Adolescence can be involved as active agents in programs – becoming more than just the recipients of services. The Working Group is committed to promoting opportunities for youth to engage and develop their skills. Outlined below are some of the Working Group's activities to support efforts that provide multiple opportunities for youth.
Explore and identify the use of funding applications and other incentives to encourage youth-serving organizations and partnerships to engage youth in grantee program design, hiring, implementation, evaluation, and other efforts.
Support federal agencies that wish to engage youth in meetings, planning, grant reviews, or other activities