Youth in Civic Participation & Engagement

It is paramount that the youth get involved in civic participation. The youth are the future. They are the ones that will be taking on the mantle in the next 20-30 years.

"Civic engagement involves 'working to make a difference in the civic life of one's community and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes'." This may seem like a difficult task for youth to be involved in, but if adults take the time to sit with them and explain the importance of their involvement in civic participation and engagement and how they can be advocates in their communities, then they can do a world of good for the youth of tomorrow.

One of the main ways that the youth can be civilly involved in their communities is through volunteering. Volunteering is very simple and there are many activities that the youth can participate in such as a community trash pickup, assisting with feeding the homeless and less fortunate in the community and even visiting the elderly in nursing homes.

As planners, it is even more important to involve the youth in the master plans of the community or neighborhood. Being that they are the future of the community, they can provide fresh perspective and interesting ideas to the development of a master plan. The youth can join in on charrettes and be placed in groups with adults to give input on how they would like to see their community transform in the coming years. This is one vital way that they can be engaged within the community.

Youth participation and engagement is key for any community to thrive long term. Without the youth's participation, a community will not ultimately succeed because of the lack of involvement from the future guardians of the community. This is why it is important that the elders allow for the voice and participation of the youth to be recognized.

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