; Developing Young People's Participation

Young people’s participation develops as they become more involved and more experienced. This doesn’t happen all at once but is a gradual progression as they learn through different experiences, activities and opportunities.

The following model shows different stages that young people may progress through as they increase their participation, involvement and responsibility.

Awareness of these different stages is important in helping youth work volunteers and the youth group to design and use activities and projects that are suitable for different young people at different stages.

Youth participation and involvement stages

Stage Characteristics
1. Making Contact
  • Young people make contact with the youth group, other young people, youth workers and volunteers.
  • Young people have access to information and opportunities.
  • This is the start of relationships of trust and sharing being developed.
  • A goal at this stage is young people wanting to come back for more.
2. Active Participation
  • Young peoples’ confidence grows as they establish new relationships with adults and other young people.
  • They become more able to engage actively and express their views and ideas. 
  • They feel included and listened to.
 3. Involvement and Responsibility
  • Young people begin to assist in taking action and responsibility, and take part in activities developed from their interests and needs.
  • They contribute to the planning and organisation of activities and programmes.
  • They set the agenda.
 4. Taking a Lead
  • Young people become more independent taking full responsibility and control of their actions within the youth group.
  • Group work is led by young people, and young people take on roles to support and lead their peers and other young people.

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