New NLC guide helps cities promote youth civic engagement
The Washington-based National League of Cities' (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, with support from the New York-based Surdna Foundation, has created a guide to help city officials promote youth civic engagement in municipal government. "Authentic Youth Civic Engagement: A Guide for Municipal Leaders" defines authentic youth engagement as a process in which young people are seen as valuable participants in the work of local government, are prepared to take on meaningful roles in addressing relevant issues, and work in partnership with adults who respect, listen to and support them.
The guide offers municipal officials a framework for developing and improving youth civic engagement in their communities, according to NLC. Main elements of the framework include creating a setting in which the climate of the community is welcoming and inviting to youth; a structure in which the organization meets the needs of the local government and the interests of the young people; a strategy that provides a wide range of activities and opportunities for participation; and support from adult allies that enables young people to have a real impact on the issues.
Youth civic engagement has many benefits for the community, including stronger local economic development plans, new green initiatives and identification of potential budget savings, according to the report. Also, youth participants can see better grades in school, are more likely to vote, volunteer and become lifelong civic leaders as adults and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.
Download "Authentic Youth Civic Engagement: A Guide for Municipal Leaders."