Benefits of youth participation

Depending on young people’s interests and skills, youth influence on organisations can occur at various levels, ranging from involvement through consultation to shared leadership.1 Utilising meaningful youth participation can contribute to structuring programs, policies and services that affect young people’s lives to adequately address their needs and interests as well as benefiting and contributing to the organisation’s success.2,3 By meaningfully engaging young people individuals gain skills and a sense of empowerment and make healthy connections with positive role models, both peers and adults.

Benefits of youth participation for organisations include:

  • Youth and adults benefit from each others’ skills, knowledge and capacities;
  • Enhanced organisational development as new energy, fresh ideas and enthusiasm is brought into programs;
  • Additional data for analysis and planning that may be obtained only by youth;
  • Additional human resources by sharing responsibilities between adults and youth;
  • Increased acceptance of organisation’s services, messages and decisions as youth contributed to shape them; and
  • Increased credibility of the organisation to both young people and advocates.2,4,5

Benefits for young people include:

  • Increased competencies, self-esteem, skills and knowledge;
  • Enhanced individual development as it provides youth with opportunities to generate real community change;
  • Increased status and stature in the community;
  • Increased self-discipline and time management;
  • Insight into the multiple roles of adults and broader career choices (Advocates for Youth n.d.); and
  • Meaningful youth participation can enhance a young person’s sense of connectedness, belonging and feeling of being valued, which con contribute to positive mental health.2,4


  1. Dotterweich, Jutta. “Practice Matters – Strengthening Youth Involvement.” New York City: ACT for Youth Center of Excellence, Cornell University, University of Rochester, the New York State Center for School Safety, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of New York City, 2004.
  2. Advocates for Youth. “Youth Involvement in Prevention Programming”, n.d.
  3. Civil Liberties and Public Policy program. “Principles of Meaningful Youth Participation.” Beyond Borders, 2008
  4. Mokwena, Steve. “Putting Youth Engagement into Practice: A Toolkit for Action.” London: Commonwealth Youth Programme, Commonwealth Secretariat, 2006.
  5. Scheve, Julie A. , Daniel F. Perkins, Claudia C. Mincemoyer, and Janet A. Welsh. “Say Y.E.S. To Youth: Youth Engagement Strategies.” edited by Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, The Pennsylvania State University.