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February 2012
Focus on Youth Volunteers
In This Issue
Featured Resource: Get the Word Out!
Other Resources
Excerpt: "Why Young People Should Be Decision Makers"
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Young people offer so many possibilities as volunteers in our organizations. They have the potential to become life-long advocates, get adult family members involved, and bring fresh, energetic ideas to our work. Yet, supporting youth and helping them develop into committed volunteers is no small task. We need to understand and develop special practices to encourage young volunteers. Take a look at some of the resources below for ideas.  

resource2 Featured Resource
Get the Word Out!  
Going Public about Young People's Power
by Jenny Sazama and Karen S. Young
Get the Word OutAn articulate, provocative guide that explores reasons why young people should be decision makers, details what keeps them from being actively involved, and offers various tips to help both young people and adults think strategically about overcoming institutional oppression of young volunteers.
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resource2 Other Resources

stepbystep  Step-by-Step: A Young Person's Guide to Positive Community Change

Ideas for how young people can discover what they care about, gain support, and implement a plan for change.


ChildrenasVols  Children as Volunteers

How to integrate volunteers under the age of 14 into an existing adult volunteer program: multi-age teams, designing work, preparing the agency, liaisoning with schools, and legal issues.


YouthLeadership  An Asset Builder's Guide to Youth Leadership

Sensible and inspiring advice for adults who truly want to engage young people in meaningful leadership volunteer roles, with how-to tips on everything from recruitment to intergenerational meetings.


e-Volunteerism article 
Engaging Generation Y
In this Keyboard Roundtable, an international panel explores what it is that makes Generation Y 'tick.' The panel examines ways that all volunteer programs can involve this important ingredient into their participant mix.
Journal subscribers can log in here. Or subscribe now for a year or 48-hour access. 

e-Volunteerism article
The Legacy of Volunteering by Children

This article presents a wide range of examples of volunteering by children in the United States and around the world over the last 200 years. Journal subscribers can log in here. Or subscribe now for a year or 48-hour access.

Energize Library: Youth and Students in Service 
Visit this page in our Free Volunteer Management Resource Library for a long list of articles, excerpts, free e-books, and links to other sites focused on youth in volunteering and service.
Resources Book Excerpt

Why Young People Should Be Decision Makers

Excerpted from Get the Word Out!: Going Public about Young People's Power by Jenny Sazama and Karen S. Young, (Youth on Board, 2001).


There are many reasons young people should be decision makers to improve their own schools, lives, and communities. Below are some primary reasons to involve youth...

It's a diversity issue. Even though they may not have years of formal experience, youth offer intelligence, creative thinking, and a valuable outlook on the world that is seldom introduced into the governance of organizations.

It's a democracy issue. To make a democracy work, all people need to be heard. This includes the voices of young people. We need to hear their views, ideas, and passions and act on their ideas for democracy to thrive in future generations.

It's a bottom-line issue. Young people are uniquely qualified to say what works for young people. By relying on young decision makers to provide personal insights, talk with friends, and organize youth focus groups, organizations can save time and money by catching decisions that might not work well with young people before they are enacted and fail.

It's a civil rights issue. Nowhere in the United States Declaration of Independence is there a stipulation concerning age. "All men are created equal," all are entitled to "certain unalienable rights." In far too many situations, young people are not being heard. Their rights are being disregarded or violated, and adults do not seem to hear or care about it.

It's a youth development issue. Leadership helps young people develop confidence in their opinions and ideas. In addition to fostering confidence, participating as a leader can introduce youth to a range of other skills -- public speaking, budgeting, leading projects and committees, and networking, to name a few. By creating visible youth decision-making positions, you can impact the self-esteem of young people in your organization and throughout your community.

It's a long-term growth issue. Adding young people to the governance of an aging organization can usher in a new generation of leadership.

It's an organizational culture issue. Youth can enliven the atmosphere of your organization by bringing energy, enthusiasm, and interactive work processes. They often remind us that work and fun are not mutually exclusive. Techniques like small group discussions or brainstorming encourage teamwork and foster better communication.

It's a community outreach issue. Young people bring an entirely new community of contacts to your organization. By adding youth to your decision making body, you are expanding your circle of clients, constituents, or consumers, and adding to their understanding of your group.


It's an integrity issue. It is important for any organization to involve its constituents. Just as it would not make sense for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) to be run exclusively by Caucasians, it does not make sense for youth-serving organizations to be run exclusively by adults.

Permission is granted for organizations to reprint this excerpt. Reprints must provide full acknowledgment of the source, as cited here:

Excerpted from Get the Word Out!: Going Public about Young People's Power by Jenny Sazama and Karen S. Young, (Youth on Board, 2001). Found in the Energize, Inc. Online Bookstore a

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