What is Youth Engagement?
Youth engagement is sometimes also called youth outreach. Youth engagement programs are typically offered to people who are between the ages of 10-18, however they can be offered for older or younger ages as well. All youth engagement programs have the goal of helping young people to figure out how they can be safe, happy and successful. Youth engagement programs help youth to build the skills they need to be successful in many different areas of life such as education, physical activity, personal relationships and involvement in the community. Most youth engagement or outreach programs take place during or after school.
Why is it important to engage youth?
Youth have an important role in society because they will one day become adults; and therefore, they will become the parents, teachers, workers, decision-makers and leaders of the world to come. It’s important that all youth have the opportunity to gain the skills and experience they need to be successful now and in the future. Skills such as communicating your ideas and opinions, figuring out how to solve a problem you are having, and understanding how to take care of yourself and others are just a few examples of the types of skills that youth gain when they participate in youth engagement programs. These skills are a little different from those that are usually taught at school and yet they are also very important for success in school, friendships, jobs, and life in general.
What are some examples of youth engagement activities?
There are many ways to inspire youth and to help them grow the skills they will need for life. Some programs offer a mentor, which is an adult who works one-on-one with a youth to teach and also to just be a friend who can provide support. Many youth engagement programs offer sports or games that teach the value of teamwork and the health benefits of physical activity. Other programs provide projects where youth have the chance to practice skills such as communicating their ideas or solving problems. All youth engagement programs tend to have two big things in common: they offer lots of fun activities in a safe environment.