Youth Forums and Youth Councils

I’ve been thinking about youth councils and youth forums recently and while I could write reams on the subject it’d probably be quite boring. So I’m going to condense the issues into the ‘Good and the Bad’ as I see them, hopefully you’ll then contribute your wisdom and the lists can be distilled into something useful.

GOOD STUFF

Can engage young people in discussion in a way that is appropriate/accessible to them
Means that young people have the possibility of a voice into decisions and organisations
Puts young people into the agenda
Can be an empowering and confidence building experience
Might lead to changes
May attract more representative young people than if they were forced into ‘old school committee’

BAD STUFF
Are a tacit declaration that the main church/organisation/charity is not prepared to change the way it meets, discusses and organises in order to genuinely involve young people.
Can be tokenistic
Can alienate young people by encouraging contribution but then ignoring it
Does not allow meaningful debate between the Adults and Young People
Even as a dedicated Forum it doesn’t neccessarily attract a representative range of young people

One Reply to “Youth Forums and Youth Councils”

  1. Good post Ian, I think that the “good things” are what the Church tells itself and the young people… but the “bad things” are the reality! Of course there will be exceptions to the rule, but having done a few, my gut feeling is that the first “bad thing” is the real issue here… the same goes for having a “youth representative” on the “adult” committee… both are a good step… IF they are just the first step, but in reality they are often the last step, i.e. it does nothing to change anything about the way the Church is run! (of course as ever there are going to be exceptions to the rule)
    On an other issue… I had a call yesterday to clarify a couple of things about our (Growproject) piece… it looks like the publication of “Mission Shaped Youth” is imminent!

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